About Us

Our mission is to advance, support, and promote the natural, historic, and cultural resources of the region.

The recently-updated legal name of the heritage area is Chesapeake Crossroads Heritage Area, Inc. Our organization was previously known as the Four Rivers Heritage Area. We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, and one of Maryland’s 13 certified heritage areas. We create and support products and activities that leverage economic development through preservation and heritage tourism.

Chesapeake Crossroads, one of Maryland’s state heritage areas, is an established heritage tourism destination on the Chesapeake Bay’s western shore. Framed by the Chesapeake Bay on the east and now including new areas of the northern and western parts of Anne Arundel County, Chesapeake Crossroads reflects Maryland’s rich historic, cultural, and natural legacy.

Chesapeake Crossroads is a partnership among the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, Anne Arundel County, the City of Annapolis, the Town of Highland Beach, and heritage-related organizations and businesses. As an economic development tool, Chesapeake Crossroads develops and supports activities and projects that enhance heritage tourism, a growing segment of the tourism industry.

Interpretive Themes

The four Interpretive Themes of the Chesapeake Crossroads Heritage Area are related to our positioning, physically and conceptually, as a “Crossroads.”

For example, “Native American Archaeology in Anne Arundel County, Maryland: A Heritage Toolbox,” a project designed for students, teachers, and the curious public, which describes local archaeological discoveries with images of artifacts from the County’s archaeological holdings, and reveals insights about the deep history of indigenous peoples and their passages through the area that is known today as Anne Arundel County.

For example, an exhibit in Historic Annapolis’s Community Gallery that featured student works based on the traditional folk art of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Panama reflecting the unique cultural aesthetics of their local communities in Annapolis and celebrates and fosters a greater appreciation of Hispanic history, art, and culture.

For example, the Elktonia Beach Heritage Park, which shares the story of the community’s resiliency in the face of segregation at the original 180-acre amusement park, swimming area and concert pavilion that hosted famous artists like Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Aretha Franklin. “The Beaches” had a prominent listing in the “Green Book,” the guidebook for Black travelers in the Jim Crow period.

For example, the Civil Rights Guide produced in February 2024 by Visit Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, which includes a tour of 60 historically significant sites around the County that mark the social changes that have occurred since the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Our Board

Meet our Board of Directors

Timothy Leahy
Chair

Linnell Bowen
Vice Chair

Christine Dunham
Treasurer

Jean Russo, Ph.D.
Secretary

Eric Elston, Ed.D.

Diane Nowak-Waring, APR

Lily Openshaw

Heather Skipper

Board materials can be found here (password protected).

Staff

Meet Our Staff

Carol A. Benson, Ph.D.
Executive Director
read bio

Coordinating Council

Meet Our Coordinating Council

Donna Anderson
Chesapeake Arts Center

Donald Bailey
Small Organizations Group

Karen Theimer Brown
Historic Annapolis

Honorable Gavin Buckley
Mayor, City of Annapolis

Jackie Coleman
Maryland Hall

Jane Cox
Anne Arundel County Planning & Zoning

Lynda Davis
Northern Arundel Cultural Preservation Society

Patricia Delgado, Ph.D.
Jug Bay Sanctuary

Heather Ersts
Visit Annapolis and Anne Arundel County

Erik Evans
Downtown Annapolis Partnership

Dianne Feeney
Hancock’s Resolution

Lynne Forsman
Annapolis Green

Janice Hayes-Williams
Anne Arundel County

Anson Hines, Ph.D.
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

Jake Iverson
Watermark

Chanel Johnson
Banneker-Douglass Museum

Sarah Knebel
Scenic Rivers Land Trust

Linda Páez
Goshen Farm Preservation Society

William Rowel
City of Annapolis

Emily Oland Squires
Maryland State Archives

Marcie Taylor-Thoma, Ph.D.
Education Committee

Dorothy Whitman
Galesville Heritage Society

Laura Wood
Conservation Representative