Nominate a Historical Marker
Is there a significant piece of history in your community that you would like to commemorate with a historical marker? Individuals, private organizations, local or county governments and public agencies are encouraged to nominate historic properties, persons, and events of significance on a state or national level for the Pennsylvania Historical Marker Program.
The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission administers the Pennsylvania Historical Marker Program, and manages and oversees applications to the program. Nominations are required for all official PHMC Historical Markers. To be approved for a marker, the nomination must meet marker approval criteria. If the nomination is successful, the Historical Marker Program Coordinator helps to verify historical accuracy and edit the marker texts.
Criteria for Approval of State Historical Markers
Adopted by Resolution of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC)
- The nomination is clear and organized and includes thorough documentation (with selected photocopies and bibliographies from primary and secondary sources) and verification of the facts claimed.
- The person, place, event, or innovation to be marked had a significant impact on its times, and has statewide and/or national, rather than local or regional, historical significance. The significance of the subject must be historically established rather than of contemporary interest.
- The subject to be marked had a substantial connection to Pennsylvania.
- A marker cannot be approved for a living person. The significance of an individual's accomplishments must have had a measureable impact on history based on documentation.
- Nominations for geographical, topographical, or natural features may be referred to an appropriate federal, state, or local agency.
- People, places, events, and innovations already marked with existing monuments or markers receive less favorable consideration for a PHMC historical marker.
- Nominated subjects reviewed and disapproved by the Commission three times in succession are not eligible for review panel consideration for a period of three years.
- Governors of Pennsylvania are approved as the subject of a historical marker upon nomination (subject to criterion #4).
- Historic sites or properties owned by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission are approved as the subject of a historical marker upon nomination.
- Places listed on the National Register of Historic Places and/or recognized as National Historic Landmarks or United Nations World Heritage Sites may be considered by the review panel. These places will not be summarily approved because the approval criteria for those designations are different. Nominations for these places are subject to all State Historical Marker Approval Criteria.
- Churches and cemeteries/burial places are generally not approved unless the nomination demonstrates that the subject meets criterion #2 or #10.
- Contact Person: Karen Galle, Historical Marker Program Coordinator. Phone (717) 705-4266.
- Annual Deadline: December 1.
- Eligibility: Nominations are evaluated based upon the proposals' adherence to the Criteria for Approval of State Historical Markers (see section above).
- Nomination Form:
- Historical Marker Review Panel: Nominations are reviewed by a panel of independent historical experts from across the state, generally in February.
- Commission Approval: The panel recommendations are presented to the Commissioners at the next PHMC Commission meeting. The Commissioners review the recommendations and formally vote to approve, reject or modify the panel recommendations. Notification of the Commission results is sent in writing to all nominators shortly thereafter.
- Following Approval: PHMC staff will work with the nominator and/or local sponsor to draft the final text as it appears on the marker, ensure the final text is historically accurate, coordinate fabrication and delivery of the marker, select a dedication date and arrange an appropriate dedication ceremony. It is expected that markers are dedicated within a year of their approval.
- Marker Costs: Please note that the nominator and/or local sponsor is responsible for the entire cost of marker production and marker installation. For your information, city-type markers cost approximately $975; roadside markers cost approximately $1,625. Final figures may vary slightly, and there are usually other costs incurred related to installation and dedication. The PHMC will assume all responsibilities for maintaining the marker once installed.
- Following Denial: If your nomination is not approved, you may revise and resubmit it in the following year. Notification letters include panel comments that may help you to prepare an improved nomination. PHMC staff is also available to assist. If the nomination did not meet the criterion of having statewide and/or national historical significance, you may want to consider a non-official marker of some kind.