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
The following criteria for approving state
historical markers was adopted by Resolution of the Pennsylvania Historical and
Museum Commission (PHMC) in September 2020.
A. The nomination is clear and organized and includes thorough documentation (with selected photocopies and bibliographies from reliable primary and secondary sources) and verification of the facts claimed.
B. The person, place, event, organization, 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, particularly for continuing events and organizations, must be historically established rather than of contemporary interest. PHMC recognizes that continuing scholarship may help validate the subject's impact on its times or its significance from a more recent historical perspective.
C. The subject to be marked has a substantial connection to Pennsylvania.
D. An Historical Marker cannot be approved for a living person. With the exception of Pennsylvania governors and U.S. presidents, subjects must have been deceased for a minimum of five (5) years. The significance of an individual's accomplishments must have had a measurable impact on history and sufficient time has elapsed to evaluate that impact based on credible documentation.
E. Nominations for geographical, topographical, or natural features may be referred to an appropriate federal, state, or local agency.
F. People, places, events, and innovations already marked with existing monuments or markers may receive less favorable consideration for an Historical Marker.
G. 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.
H. Governors of Pennsylvania are approved as the subject of an Historical Marker upon nomination (subject to the criterion in subsection D herein).
I. Historic sites or properties owned by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission are approved as the subject of an Historical Marker upon nomination.
J. 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 for an Historical Marker. These places will not be summarily approved by PHMC for designation because the approval criteria for those designations are different. Nominations for these places are subject to all these Criteria.
K. Places of worship and cemeteries/burial places generally will not be approved unless the nomination demonstrates that the subject meets criteria in subsections B and J.
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 $1,620.00; roadside markers cost approximately $2,060.00. 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.
- Contact Person: Scott Doyle, Historical Marker Program Coordinator at (717) 783-6012.
- 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 Process:
- Please note that all Marker Nominations must be submitted electronically through PA-SHARE - PHMC's new web application that replaces the existing paper-based system.
- You must create a Keystone Login profile to submit a Marker Nomination in PA-SHARE.
- A reference Marker_Nomination_Form_reference.pdf (PDF) is available to review as you prepare your nomination in PA-SHARE. The PDF form closely follows the required information for a PA-SHARE marker nomination.
- Please review the Marker Nomination Guidelines (PDF) for additional information.
Historical Marker Program webinar, September 2020, video recording
Historical Marker Program webinar, September 2020, presentation slides (PDF)