Historic St. Mary’s City, an outdoor living history museum and research center, has been working on realigning its site narrative from a historically colonialist perspective towards a more inclusive, community-driven interpretive scheme. Two projects exemplify the development of this effort since 2018: the design of a long-term exhibition for a new visitor center and a collaborative initiative sparked by the archaeological discovery of the 1634 St. Mary’s Fort. These efforts have not been without missteps. This essay recounts the progress to date of HSMCC’s work to responsibly build partnerships with our community.
Chipping Away at the Colonialist Lens: Collaborative Research and Interpretation of Early Colonial Maryland
Regina Faden, PhD joined HSMC as Executive Director in 2008. She believes in the power of museums to improve society by serving as forums for education, social justice, and equity. She guides the museum’s institutional vision, exhibitions, educational initiatives, external relations, administrative management, and strategic planning with a gifted and creative staff. She is dedicated to community and professional service, serving as president of her Rotary Club, president of the county tourism board, a peer reviewer for American Alliance of Museums, and a grant reviewer for the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Before joining HSMC, Faden was the Executive Director of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum in Hannibal, Missouri. She has also taught courses in Museum Studies, literature, and American history and published on the subject of museology and race.
Travis C. Parno is the Director of Research and Collections at Historic St. Mary’s City and Project Director of the People to People Project. He has over fifteen years of experience excavating and researching historic sites in Maryland, Virginia, Massachusetts, and Bermuda. In addition to overseeing the Department of Research and Collections, Travis runs Historic St. Mary’s City’s annual Field School in Historical Archaeology, the country’s longest-running program of its kind. He received a BA in Anthropology from the College of William & Mary, a MA in Historical Archaeology at the University of Bristol, and a PhD in Archaeology from Boston University.
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Regina Faden, Travis C. Parno; Chipping Away at the Colonialist Lens: Collaborative Research and Interpretation of Early Colonial Maryland. The Public Historian 1 November 2022; 44 (4): 126–146. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/tph.2022.44.4.126
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