Resources and Tools

Have you ever wondered what historical treasures your neighborhood or local village can boast? Would you like to know a little more about that site memorialized on the roadside plaque you drive by every day on your way to work? To help you answer those questions, the Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) has combined cutting edge mapping technology with some of Maryland’s oldest cultural resources in its new mapping tool named Medusa. From the Drayden African American Schoolhouse in St. Mary’s County to the Harold Georg Farm outside of the Town of Accident in Garrett County, interested researchers can dig into endless information and documents detailing Maryland’s rich historical and archeological legacy.

MHT is a vital part of the Maryland Department of Planning (Planning) and is the state agency dedicated to preserving and interpreting the legacy of Maryland’s past. Through research, conservation and education, MHT assists the people of Maryland in understanding their historical and cultural heritage. MHT serves as Maryland’s State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) pursuant to the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. In addition to its administrative office in Crownsville, MHT includes the Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum in St. Leonard, Maryland, which houses the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory.

Medusa, accessible on both desktop and handheld devices, allows the user to search by text or by clicking on a cultural resource directly on the interactive map. The program also provides the researcher the ability to turn on only those layers (i.e. National Register of Historic Places, Maryland Historic Areas) that they are interested in analyzing. Once a resource is selected, images and other historical sources are readily accessible, downloadable, and printable. Users can also print a map directly from the home page. Medusa is not only handy for amateur historians; it is also a powerful tool for local government staff and officials interested in preserving and accentuating their local cultural assets.

Planners use the term “placemaking” frequently to highlight efforts that develop a location’s identity and draw. The truth is that cultures in Maryland have been placemaking for centuries, and our modern planners are just now trying to catch up. Medusa brings this to fascinating and undeniable clarity. To learn more about Medusa and the work of the Maryland Historical Trust, please contact Nell Ziehl at 410-697-9592 or at nell.ziehl@maryland.gov.