Legal Mandates

State Archives. The State Archives is an independent unit of State government within the Office of the Governor. The agency is subject to the advice and review of the Hall of Records Commission. In general, legal mandates of the State Archives provide for the acquisition, custody, management, and control of State archives and artistic property; compilation, editing, and distribution of the Maryland Manual; the duties of the Hall of Records Commission; and the responsibilities of the Commission on Artistic Property (State Government Article, secs. 2-1513(b), 3-404(b), 7-213(a), 9-1001 through 9-1027, 10-611 through 10-628, 10-631 through 10-634, 10-637 through 10-642, 10-701, and 10-702 of the Annotated Code of Maryland). In 1993, the State Archives Fund was established to create an endowment for the study of biography, geography, and history and to promote the use of public record materials in the schools (Code State Government Article, sec. 9-1013). Land Patents. As Commissioner of Land Patents, the State Archivist carries out the functions of the Commissioner of the Land Office and is responsible for issuing land patents and conducting court hearings under the provisions of Real Property Article, secs. 13-101 through 13-106, 13-201 through 13-206, 13-301 through 13-313, 13-401 through 13-413, 13-501 through 13-504; and Natural Resources Article, sec. 9-402(b).

Commission on Artistic Property. The Commission on Artistic Property is part of the State Archives. The Commission is official custodian of all valuable paintings and other objects of decorative art owned by or loaned to the State, except those located in a State room of Government House. When the State acquired the Peabody Art Collection from the Peabody Institute on July 1, 1996, the Commission became official custodian of that collection as well (Chapter 331, Acts of 1995). The Commission is charged with keeping an accurate inventory of these valuable paintings and other decorative arts in all State buildings and developing guidelines for temporary and permanent exhibits in the public areas of those buildings. The Commission is empowered, with the approval of the Governor and State Archivist, to receive and accept gifts and loans of paintings and other decorative arts. With the approval of the Governor, the Commission may accept gifts of money from any source, public or private, and thereafter administer and expend the funds according to the conditions and terms of the gift. The Commission consists of fifteen members. Seven represent various cultural institutions, and eight are appointed by the State Archivist with the approval of the Governor. The State Archivist, with the approval of the Governor, names the chair (State Government Article, secs. 9-703, 9-709(d), and 9-1016 through 9-1023).

Maryland Advisory Board of the National Historical Publications & Records Commission. Appointed by the Governor, the Maryland Advisory Board of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission carries out the historical records program of the National Historical Publication and Records Commission. The program is a cooperative effort of the Commission, state records coordinators, state advisory boards, and institutions and organizations throughout the country concerned with the records of the nation. The Commission encourages government and private organizations to preserve and make available for use those records that further an appreciation and understanding of American history. In addition to supporting projects that directly relate to a body of records, the Commission also may support projects to promote cooperative efforts among institutions and organizations and improve the knowledge, performance, and professional skills of those who work with historical records.

The Maryland Advisory Board consists of at least seven members, including the State Historical Records Coordinator who serves as chair. Members serve three-year terms. The State Historical Records Coordinator is the State Archivist.

Commission to Coordinate the Study, Commemoration, and Impact of Slavery's History and Legacy in Maryland. Authorized in 2000, the Commission to Coordinate the Study, Commemoration, and Impact of Slavery's History and Legacy in Maryland formed in March 2001 (Chapter 316, Acts of 2000).

To support the preservation, cataloguing, and presentation of cultural resources relevant to the history and legacy of slavery in Maryland, the Commission networks or communicates for mutual assistance and support with museums, private collections and cultural organizations, parks, and centers. In publicizing and seeking support for initiatives relating to the history and legacy of slavery (particularly those to benefit Maryland youth), the Commission works with grass roots organizations, foundations and government agencies.

Funds are targeted by the Commission to identify and maintain library and archival resources about the history and legacy of slavery; and produce guides and maintain on-line databases of relevant holdings, especially those not appropriately catalogued and documented. Historical sites in Maryland concerned with the history and legacy of slavery are identified by the Commission which monitors their preservation and development.

The Commission also is charged with advising the State on how best to support programs and initiatives to commemorate the middle passage, slavery, indentured servitude, and the underground railroad; and keeping the State informed of current research on the lingering affects of slavery and its legacy, including their impact on crime and crime control.

To oversee and monitor the allocation of public resources to sites and undertakings relating to the history and legacy of slavery in Maryland, the Commission works cooperatively with public and private tourist agencies and organizations. Additionally, the Commission ensures a fair allocation of resources for African-American businesses and institutions.

The State Archivist serves as a member of the Commission, and the State Archives provides the Commission with staff support.
  Maryland State Archives