Columbia MD

Columbia Maryland Archives

  • Archives Feasibility Study
  • Columbia, Maryland
  • 2012 - 2013


Columbia Maryland is a New Town development between Washington, DC and Baltimore, Maryland begun in 1962.  Underlying the development was a vision of a racially and economically diverse community built as villages with town centers.  This vision as a social and physical experiment is unique, and the Archives are the work of a small group who sought to capture this history.  Now at 50 years, the Archives are an increasingly important historical resource as community founders retire.  The project led by Cultural Resources Management was to define the opportunities for the Archives moving forward.



Extensive community interviews and in-depth look at the history of Columbia relative to other New Town or utopian communities help establish the importance of the archives as Columbia’s ‘memory’ in the arc of planned communities.  By understanding the timing (as founders retire or leave), context (as a social and physical experiment), and opportunities (as a community connection and branding),  the role of the Archives as part of another project (new central library or the expansion of the Town Center) was seen as a significant differentiator.


The process brought together many past and current community leaders for conversation and brainstorming in ways that had never happened.   This heightened  greater awareness on the importance of the Archives as a connector in a community that has grown to be the second largest city in Maryland.  The final report is to be used as a catalyst for new programs, new exhibitions, increasing awareness within the community, and for funding based on the 50th anniversary of ground breaking.

Cultural Resources Management Group and Walt Crimm Associates