Frequently Asked Questions
What is a National Heritage Area?
What is the Baltimore National Heritage Area?
The heart of the heritage area is at the center of the city and the Inner Harbor. From this central location, the heritage area expands to include sections of the city with high densities of historic, cultural, and natural attractions for both visitors and residents.
When did Baltimore receive this designation?
Before national designation, the State of Maryland designated the city's dense collection of cultural and natural resources as a recognized heritage area (1997) and a certified heritage area (2001).
What is the boundary of the Baltimore National Heritage Area?
How is the Baltimore National Heritage Area managed?
The National Park Service provides technical, planning, and limited financial assistance to the national heritage area. NPS is a partner and advisor, leaving decision-making authority in the hands of Baltimore's residents, organizations, and institutions.
How do heritage areas work?
The Baltimore National Heritage Area works to spur economic development using sustainable heritage tourism as a key tool. Heritage tourism is also used to promote historic preservation and conservation. While reaching out to tourists is important, interpretative and educational components help communicate Baltimore's history to its residents.
An important component of the heritage area's work is the development of heritage trails that highlight specific Baltimore neighborhoods and their historic places and institutions. Heritage Walk and the Mount Vernon Cultural Walk are the two oldest urban trails. In 2010, the Pennsylvania Avenue Heritage Trail was unveiled, highlighting the historic African American neighborhood that played a crucial role in the civil rights movement. Additional trails are in the planning stages to showcase the Fell's Point, Federal Hill/Sharp-Leadenhall, and West Side neighborhoods.
How important is tourism to Baltimore and its neighborhoods?
Cultural heritage tourism, travel by those seeking to experience the places and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past, is one of the fastest growing segments of the travel industry. According to travel industry surveys, the average U.S. traveler spends $457 and about four nights away from home per trip. Visitors who included cultural heritage sites and activities stay longer and spend more: more than $600 and about five nights per trip.
Baltimore and cultural heritage tourism are a perfect fit. Tourism is generally a clean industry that provides an exceptionally strong boost to economic and community revitalization efforts. Visitor spending helps to diversify a neighborhood's economy while preserving the unique character of a community.