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Mission, Vision, Values

Our Mission

The Maryland Center for History and Culture collects, preserves, and interprets the history, art, and culture of Maryland. By exploring multiple perspectives and sharing national stories through the lens of Maryland, the MCHC inspires critical thinking, creativity, and community.

Our Vision

The Maryland Center for History and Culture will deepen our understanding of the present through dialogue with the past.

MCHC will be nationally recognized as a center for discovery, engaging diverse audiences in authentic experiences both onsite and within their communities. A commitment to exemplary stewardship, inclusive programming, and ongoing scholarship and innovation will realize the potential of our museum and library collection to illuminate our world.

Core Values Statement

History is continually interpreted as we better understand what came before us and how it connects to the present. By investigating primary sources, artifacts, and memory, we can uncover new historical narratives. Culture is created by people and is ever-evolving as communities adapt past forms and traditions to reflect our lives today.

This understanding of history and culture is integral to the MCHC’s fulfillment of its mission. Our core values of Community, Authenticity, Dialogue, and Discovery help frame our activities and realize the potential of history and culture as a positive force for Marylanders and all the people we serve.


Community

History and culture can create, strengthen, and bridge communities. The MCHC is committed to realizing this potential and ensuring that our work is relevant, responsive, and useful. The MCHC strives to be actively inclusive and representative of the exceptionally diverse people of Maryland in all its work.

  • Community is collective: we cannot grow alone.
  • Community is inclusive: we connect and engage diverse audiences.
  • Community gathers: we are a center for engagement, both within and beyond our walls.
  • Community is built on participation and trust: we are committed to providing a safe and inclusive space where participation is encouraged and celebrated.
  • Community is involved: we are committed to being a good neighbor.
  • Community is responsive: we will create useful resources and content reflective of the evolving world around us.


Authenticity

History and culture are manifested in authentic resources, whether they are tangible artifacts, documents, and artworks in our collection, or from communities who safeguard their own stories and traditions. These authentic resources have a unique power to connect that cannot be replicated. The MCHC stewards its collection with the highest standards of care and conservation to preserve them for future generations, all the while making them accessible. The MCHC is continually evaluating and refining its collection to make it more representative of the diverse Maryland experience. We look externally to community members and scholars when topics exceed the expertise and lived experience of staff.

  • Authenticity resides in primary sources and original objects: we are the stewards for nationally significant collections.
  • Authenticity is representative: we strive to identify and elevate many voices, especially those that have been long suppressed.
  • Authenticity is shedding light on the past, which may result in uncomfortable realizations.


Dialogue

The history and culture of any one time, place, or community are not a static, singular narrative; they develop through active dialogue. MCHC will use its collections and resources to facilitate this dialogue by sharing factual content grounded in historical methodology, recognizing marginalized voices, encouraging new perspectives, and creating space for debate. Rather than advancing a singular view of the past, MCHC celebrates that any one historical event, work of art, or artifact can inspire myriad interpretations.

  • Dialogue connects the past with the present.
  • Dialogue is integral to communities and conversation.
  • Dialogue reveals multiple perspectives.
  • Dialogue encourages new questions about the past through examination of objects and documents.
  • Dialogue guides inquiry-based programming with our onsite and virtual audiences inspiring critical thinking and creativity.


Discovery

History and culture continually evolve as we engage with the past to make new discoveries about our predecessors, ourselves, and society at large. The MCHC shares this creative act of discovery through exhibitions, programming, research, and publications that uncover new perspectives, ask essential questions, and compel participants to dig deeper. The MCHC collections and publications foster new inquiry and scholarship exploring the nuances and mysteries of Maryland’s past and present. The MCHC is committed to continual innovation, self-discovery, creativity, and new ways to connect and engage with history and each other.

  • Discovery is active and hands-on. It is interacting with our collections: anyone can “do” history.
  • Discovery is the “aha” moment: learning something new and having it stick.
  • Discovery is scholarship: looking to our collections to uncover hidden stories and ask new questions.
  • Discovery is personal, yet critical to the pursuit of our collective journey.