Historic St. Mary's City, the site of the fourth permanent settlement in British North America, was Maryland's first settlement in 1634 and for sixty-one years (until 1695) its colonial capital.

[photo, St. John's Site Museum, Historic St. Mary's City, St. Mary's City, Maryland] The Historic St. Mary's City Commission preserves, develops, and maintains Historic St. Mary's City, an outdoor museum, and an archeological park on the site of Maryland's original settlement.

With emphasis on the 17th century, the Commission studies the history of St. Mary's City, interprets that history for the public, and preserves its archaeological evidence. Governance and management of Historic St. Mary's City, including the care, control, and maintenance of all its property and assets, are the responsibility of the Commission.

St. John's Site Museum, Historic St. Mary's City, St. Mary's City, Maryland, May 2009. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

Historical and cultural properties necessary for the proper use and administration of Historic St. Mary's City may be acquired by the Commission. In addition, the Commission may accept private gifts, as well as federal, State and local government grants.

The Historic St. Mary's City Commission originated in 1965 when the Governor appointed the St. Mary's City Restoration Study Commission authorized by the General Assembly (Joint Resolution 41, Acts of 1965). The St. Mary's City Commission replaced the study commission in 1966 (Chapter 115, Acts of 1966) and joined the Department of Economic and Community Development in 1970. Thereafter, the Commission became part of the Department of Housing and Community Development in 1987 (Chapter 311, Acts of 1987). The Commission was renamed Historic St. Mary's City Commission in 1991 (Chapter 590, Acts of 1991). In 1997, it was made an independent agency within the office of the Governor and became affiliated formally with St. Mary's College of Maryland (Chapter 583, Acts of 1997).

Seventeen members constitute the Commission. Thirteen are appointed to four-year terms by the Governor with Senate advice and consent. Of four ex officio members, two vote and two are nonvoting members. The Commission names the Executive Director (Code Education Article, secs. 24-501 through 24-525).

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