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Civil War interpretation efforts lauded

February 17, 2013
  • Celebrating their Excellence in Community Engagement accolades from the Maryland Historical Trust are, from left, Kathleen A. Maher, planning director for the City of Hagerstown; Matthew Power, deputy secretary of the Maryland Department of Planning; Tom Riford, president and chief executive officer of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau; Steve Bockmiller, development planner and zoning administrator for the City of Hagerstown; City of Hagerstown volunteer Larry Bopp; Joyce Leviton, assistant to U.S. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin; and Eric Hastings, TV production and Web coordinator for the City of Hagerstown.
Submitted photo

ANNAPOLIS — The City of Hagerstown, the Hagerstown-Washington County Conventional and Visitors Bureau and the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area were recognized Jan. 31 at a Maryland Historical Trust awards ceremony at the Governor Calvert Ballroom in Annapolis.

The Maryland Historical Trust, or MHT, selected 10 projects, organizations and individuals as the recipients of the 2013 Maryland Preservation Awards. The awards, presented annually by MHT’s board of trustees, are the highest level of recognition for historic preservation and heritage education projects in Maryland.

The City of Hagerstown, the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area were recognized with the highest award for Excellence in Community Engagement.

The project was Interpreting Hagerstown’s Civil War History. The recipients were the Hagerstown mayor and city council; Steve Bockmiller, development planner and zoning administrator; Kathleen A. Maher, planning director; Karen Giffin, community affairs manager; Eric Hastings, television production and Web coordinator; Larry Bopp; Kelly Wright; The Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area; Tom Riford, Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau; and Rose Hill Cemetery.

Interpreting Hagerstown’s Civil War History project was designed to help people understand Hagerstown’s experiences in the Civil War and develop the city as a heritage tourism destination before sesquicentennial commemoration events for the major Civil War battles of Antietam and Gettysburg in 2012-13. Launched in 2009, the interpretive product development campaign was led by the city and executed in partnership with multiple funders, including the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area and Rose Hill Cemetery.

To date, the city has developed and installed 50 interpretive plaques featuring local Civil War stories and Hagerstown’s history, led the creation of two documentary films — “Valor in the Streets: The Battle of Hagerstown” and “Divided Valor: Hagerstonians in the Civil War” — exploring the city’s experience of the Civil War, partnered with Arcadia publishing to produce the book “Hagerstown in the Civil War” and collaborated with Rose Hill Cemetery to produce Hagerstown’s Civil War Walking Tour Map.  

The convention and visitors bureau assisted with the design, editing, printing, installation and promotion of the project.

The 2013 recipients were selected from nominations submitted by individuals and organizations from across Maryland. In selecting the winners, the board considers a variety of factors, including community impact, adherence to best practices and innovation, but all winners are considered to be exemplary role models.

MHT presented awards in eight categories to individuals and organizations from Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, Carroll, Charles, Dorchester, Frederick, Kent, Prince George’s, Montgomery, St. Mary’s, Queen Anne’s, Talbot, Washington and Worcester counties.

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