The city of Annapolis and Goucher College are negotiating a deal that would allow the Towson school to do historic preservation fieldwork in the state capital, which city and college officials say would provide an ideal laboratory for budding archaeologists.
Talks are in the preliminary stages, but Mayor Ellen O. Moyer has set up a volunteer group to help Goucher develop a curriculum.
Fred Mauk, the school's associate dean for graduate and professional studies, said, "We're very enthusiastic about the possibilities."
Moyer has made attracting educational programs to the city one of her top goals. Annapolis has a partnership with the University of Maryland, College Park, which holds a six-week archaeological field study program in the city each year.
Moyer and others hope the courses boost Annapolis' profile and aid preservation efforts in the capital, where construction projects often unearth human remains.
An amateur archaeologist also recently found a rare coin that was minted before the Revolutionary War.
"I see this project as an opportunity to address some of the preservation needs of the city," Moyer wrote in a letter last month to potential committee members who would help design the program's curriculum.
The task force will hold its first meeting March 1 with city and Goucher officials. Aside from the volunteer group, Moyer said, the city would not contribute staff or money.
"It's basically an agreement to let them use our land," she said.
The college would also not need classroom space in Annapolis, Mauk said.
Goucher offers undergraduate and graduate courses in historic preservation. The school also has a noncredit certificate program that operates out of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington.
About 70 people enroll each year, Mauk said. Students receive a certificate after they have taken 10 courses, which last seven weeks each.
But students cannot easily do maritime preservation fieldwork in Washington, something that is readily available in Annapolis. "That's a hot topic that students are interested in," Mauk said.
Mauk said Goucher would continue its Washington classes even if an agreement is reached with Annapolis. However, the college needs to determine how much the Annapolis program would cost. Students pay $535 a course for the certificate program, Mauk said.
Annapolis preservationists said they would welcome Goucher's presence.
"I can't imagine a better place to do preservation than here," said Gregory A. Stiverson, president of the Historic Annapolis Foundation.