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College program to focus on Annapolis


The Colonial-era homes of Maryland's capital, the waterfront villages of the Eastern Shore, the old farmhouses that dot the region -- all will be part of a new educational program on historical preservation focusing on the Annapolis area.

Next month, Goucher College will launch an Annapolis-based certificate program in historical preservation, geared toward property owners, developers and others interested in preserving and restoring historic architecture. Courses will range from local architectural styles to using state tax credits toward rehabbing houses.

More than a year ago, Mayor Ellen O. Moyer said she wanted to lure more educational programs to the city, classes that could raise Annapolis' image in the fields of history, archaeology and preservation while serving local preservation efforts -- most of which depend on property owners. The city has an archaeology partnership with the University of Maryland.

Moyer said she approached Goucher College, where she received a master's degree in education. Once the Towson college expressed interest in establishing a program, she asked a group of volunteers to work with the college on devising one that capitalized on the city's preservation goals.

"We wanted to tailor it to the community," Moyer said.

The program that emerged leads to a certificate in historical preservation.

Greg Stiverson, president of the Historic Annapolis Foundation, said the courses can help perpetuate the region's "culture of preservation," notably for property owners seeking a better understanding of living in a historic house, in a historic community or in a city that has among the most stringent preservation laws in the nation. And the courses are coming at a time when the high-profile public restoration projects that saved historic buildings from the wrecker's ball are largely over.

"It's particularly important in Annapolis, where so many of the people who have moved into Annapolis in the last few years are part-time residents or not from the area," Stiverson said.

The college has a decade-old historical preservation certificate program in Washington -- and students can take courses at both locations to receive the certificate.

Historical preservation programs are gaining in popularity, said architect Richard D. Wagner, a partner in David H. Gleason Associates in Baltimore, who, as director of the Master of Arts program in historical preservation at Goucher, is the chief of content for the certificate program. Most programs specialize in courses either for building tradespeople or for career professionals. Among them is one at Harford Community College near Bel Air and another at the National Preservation Institute in Alexandria, Va.

Goucher's program does not teach the nuts-and-bolts of preserving architecture. Instead, it targets professionals, people considering career changes, those interested in history and preservation, and homeowners.

The Annapolis program is meant to have distinctly maritime and Maryland angles.

"The preservation law course in D.C. is more focused toward the federal government," Wagner said. "The Maryland program includes Maryland law.

"In Annapolis, there is far more focus on the Federal-style homes than you find in D.C."

Tobacco barns, now considered threatened in rural areas where tobacco was king until the buyout of recent years, estate homes and waterfront properties are part of the Annapolis, Southern Maryland and Eastern Shore landscape but don't exist in Washington.

There also will be one-day workshops.

Home for the Annapolis program will be Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, where evening classes and workshops will be held. A maritime heritage course will be held at the Annapolis Maritime Museum.

Noreen Mack, director of marketing and new program development at Goucher, said it would take someone two years to obtain a certificate -- that is 17.5 continuing-education credits -- attending only in Annapolis. An ambitious person taking courses more frequently both in Annapolis and Washington might be done in a year. (But there is homework.)

About 300 students -- from lawyers to stonemasons -- have taken courses in the Washington program, and about 80 of them have received certificates. Others, Mack said, take only a few courses that interest them.

An open house will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 13 at Maryland Hall.

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