Why Preservation at Maryland?
Through coursework, charrettes, and field trips, preservation students have the opportunity to interact formally and informally with students in the School’s programs, including architecture, real estate, and community planning, and across the university (including history, American studies, anthropology, and landscape architecture) providing exciting cross-fertilization of ideas among scholars of the built environment.
Class sizes in the UMD preservation program are small, with a focus on seminar discussions. Lively interaction and frequent student presentations allow for a stimulating environment to discuss foundational ideas and texts as well as contemporary issues and concerns in the field.
The program’s faculty members are well networked in the Metro area and region and across the U.S., providing great connects with practicing professionals. Students also have multiple opportunities to attend local and national conferences and conventions such as USICOMOS, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Architectural Workshops at Menokin Foundation, meeting and interacting with preservationists from across the country. One favorite has been National Lobby Day, held on Capitol Hill, where students not only see the process but can participate through meetings with their congressional delegates on issues of concern for the field.
Academic research is complemented by both project- and field-based professional training in documentation, policy, and interpretation to prepare our students for many aspects of contemporary preservation practice. Our students come from many different perspectives, and are employed in various aspects of the field from statewide easement review to historic interpretation of resources. Students leave Maryland with a portfolio of professional quality papers and reports that clearly demonstrate their abilities and competencies to potential employers.
Maryland students take a series of required courses in the preservation program to develop core professional and academic skills, then students are able to shape their education based on their interests and strengths. Though cooperation with numerous departments around the University and professionals and organizations across the region, students can explore various aspects of the broad field of preservation including archaeology, cultural landscape studies, and sustainability.
Location, Location, Location
College Park is located in the Baltimore-Washington urban corridor, which allows preservation professionals to serve as guest lecturers and adjunct faculty, providing Maryland students with up-to-date perspectives on current issues in the field. Our location also provides easy access to the many preservation organizations—local, state, and federal—in the area where our students take internships applying their knowledge and skills in real-world settings. The state of Maryland also provides a wide range of real-world settings, from urban to suburban to exurban and from the Atlantic seashore to the mountains of Appalachia.
With a placement rate of about 80% at 1 year after graduation, HISP students get jobs. Across the country and around the world, UMD alumni work to preserve our historic built environment in a wide variety of fields. Nearly half of our graduates work for government at all levels, ranging from federal positions at the National Park Service; to State Historic Preservation Office jobs in North Carolina, Massachusetts and Texas; to positions in local government such as the City Planning Department of Gaithersburg, MD. Nearly a quarter of graduates also work in architecture firms across the country, designing new solutions for our historic built environment. Other graduates manage projects at historic sites and museums, administer historic property easements with non-profits, and oversee cultural tourism efforts in heritage areas. A list of organizations employing UMD graduates is found at the end of the section.
Career Opportunities- Historic Preservation
Below is a sample of possible career paths for students pursuing a degree or certificate in Historic Preservation:
Local, State, and Federal Agencies
Careers at the local level include positions in city and county preservation, planning, tourism, natural resources, and economic development offices. At the state level, jobs include those within the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), Maryland Historical Trust, and agencies like the highway or transportation, economic development, tourism, natural resources, and planning. Many of these positions are focused on preservation planning and the management of cultural resource projects under both state and Federal laws (such as Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act). As all Federal agencies are required to have a preservation officers, jobs within the Federal government range from the National Park Service to agencies that manage large tracts of land and resources, such as the Department of Defense (military bases), Bureau of Land Management, and the General Services Administration (Federal office buildings), to the many smaller Federal agencies. These jobs demand familiarity with federal, state, and local laws and guidelines related to preservation of cultural resources as well as a wide and flexible range of skills across the discipline. Preservation offices tend to be small, requiring the staff to be flexible and prepared to wear many hats.
Cultural Resource Management Firms
These positions tend to be focused on either management or fieldwork activities, and engage in identifying and preserving both architectural and archaeological resources. The types of projects tend to be those that are required under various laws (like Section 106 referenced above). For example, a project might include the survey and assessment of architectural and/or archaeological sites within the right-of-way of a planned highway. This type of project might actually be overseen by a preservation professional within the transportation department and later reviewed by a preservation staff member at the SHPO office. These jobs vary from fieldwork and documentation to report writing and presentation. There is a wide range of cultural resource management firms, starting with small single or several person organizations and expanding to large, multi-national firms that provide these services as a part of their overall practice in architecture, planning, and engineering (examples include Commonwealth Cultural Resources Group, Cultural Resource Analysts, Inc., The Louis Berger Group, and John Milner Associates). In addition, there are many university-based CRM units, such as the William and Mary Center for Archaeological Research and the Office of Contract Archaeology at the University of New Mexico.
These positions tend to be related to advocacy and land or resource management non-profits such as city or statewide preservation organizations (Preservation Maryland) or resource focused groups like the Civil War Trust or the Piedmont Environmental Council. Perhaps the best known of these non-profit organizations is the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Jobs in this arena include management, lobbying, granting and preservation services, property management, policy and legal research and support, and preservation education to name a few. There are also land trust organizations that own and manage historic resources, either directly or via easements (for example, the Nature Conservancy and the Archaeological Conservancy). Skills in land management, planning, and cultural landscape analysis and preservation are sought by employers.
Architectural and Planning Firms
Many architectural firms now specialize in the restoration, renovation, or adaptive use of historic structures (for example, Quinn Evans Architects in Washington or Design Collective in Baltimore). As the movement toward a more sustainable built environment grows, more and more of this type of work is being planned and executed. While these firms often look for individuals with architecture and preservation degrees, many firms are now hiring preservation specialists with MHP degrees to help them navigate the myriad regulatory and legal challenges of this work. For example, the Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit program is big business and these projects can run into the tens of millions of dollars; thus, firms and investors want to expedite these projects by hiring preservation professionals who can guide them through the bureaucracy.
Museum and Historic Sites
Many property holding museum organizations employ preservation professionals in jobs related to site management and preservation. Organizations from Colonial Williamsburg, Mount Vernon and Historic New England, to the many small historic house museums across the country have needs for preservation professionals to perform research, plan and manage preservation projects on their properties, as well as for executive director or curator positions at smaller sites.
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Visiting & Applying
The best way to get to know us is to visit us in person. Please contact the Program Director, Donald Linebaugh at email@example.com to schedule a visit.
We host an Open House for prospective graduate students every year in the Fall. Information about our Fall 2016 Open House will be available next summer.
To learn more, please submit a graduate degree inquiry form.
For application information, visit the Admissions page.
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(via the Graduate Application website).