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Indiana Historical Bureau

American Indians > Read the Governing Document Policies Governing the Indiana State Historical Marker Program

Approved by the Indiana Library and Historical Board, February 24, 2012

The Indiana State Historical Marker Program is established and implemented by the Indiana Historical Bureau (IHB) under the authority of Indiana Code 4-23-7.2-11. Policies related to the Indiana State Historical Marker Program are determined by the Indiana Library and Historical Board. Procedures and guidelines for implementation of the Indiana State Historical Marker Program are determined by the IHB. All policies, guidelines, and procedures will be available to the public on the IHB website.

Jump to:  Installing and Removing Markers   Compliance  Funding  Official Format   
Accuracy Initiative   American Indian Markers   Underground Railroad Marker Initiative  
Special Formats-Cemetery Signs   Non-state Markers on State Highways
  
Public Access to IHB Records

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Authority to install or remove Indiana State Historical Markers

The Indiana Library and Historical Board, upon the recommendation of the IHB, has the sole authority to authorize

  • the installation of new or replacement Indiana State Historical Markers, and
    the removal and disposition of Indiana State Historical Markers that do not meet the requirements of the program.
  • The IHB may authorize temporary removal of a marker for maintenance work. In an emergency situation, the IHB may authorize the removal and disposition of markers that have been damaged or are at risk.

Compliance with guidelines and procedures

Applicants for Indiana State Historical Markers must comply with the IHB program guidelines and procedures, including any relevant evaluation factors, informational publications, and instructions of the IHB regarding applications, texts, locations, maintenance, and other elements of the program. Failure to respond to a written request from the IHB within the designated time frame regarding any part of an Indiana State Historical Marker Program process may result in postponement or termination of a marker application, fabrication, or installation.

Funding for Indiana State Historical Markers

Applicants must pay all charges to purchase a new Indiana State Historical Marker. Regardless of the source/s of the funding, markers remain the property of the State of Indiana. Indiana State Historical Markers—whether new or replacement—must be acquired by the IHB from the approved state vendor. Current charges for markers will be provided to all applicants.

Official format of Indiana State Historical Markers

The official format of the Indiana State Historical Marker is distinguished by the outline of the state of Indiana in the crest at the top. Markers are 47.5 inches tall and 42.25 inches wide, with a dark blue background, gold lettering, and silver-colored border mounted on a silver-colored post supplied with the marker. Unauthorized use of this format/design is prohibited by Indiana Code 4-23-7.2-11(a).

  • Indiana State Historical Markers are fabricated to the specifications of the IHB and can only be fabricated at the request of the IHB.
  • No other logo or emblem may be included on an Indiana State Historical Marker unless an exception is made by the Indiana Library and Historical Board for compelling reasons, upon the recommendation of the IHB.
  • Inclusion of a map, or other artwork, on a marker may be approved only if the Indiana Library and Historical Board, upon the recommendation of the IHB, judges that it is essential to clarify or enhance the interpretation of a marker topic. Extra costs for markers with such artwork must be paid by the marker applicant.
  • Markers must carry a credit line as follows: “Installed [year] Indiana Historical Bureau and [name/s of local funder/s]”. Because of space limitations, individual names of multiple funders may not be cast on the marker.
  • Markers should have different text about the topic on each side of the marker.

Although markers installed before 1992 may not comply with all of the preceding descriptive statements, all Indiana State Historical Markers, “including state format markers installed after 1945 and markers installed by the Indiana Civil War centennial commission, are the property of the state” by IC 4-23-7.2-11(c). 

Accuracy of Indiana State Historical Marker texts

Replaces policy first approved December 14, 2007

The texts of all Indiana State Historical Markers must be supported with reliable primary sources. Accurate information will be presented in the texts of markers and/or in any supporting documentation, according to the goals and guidelines of the Indiana State Historical Marker Program.

The staff of the IHB is responsible for ensuring that all markers placed previously or installed in the future adhere to this policy. The IHB may recommend to the Indiana Library and Historical Board the removal of Indiana State Historical Markers that do not meet the accuracy requirements of the program.

Marker applications related to or about American Indian tribes

Replaces policy first approved September 3, 2004

When the Indiana State Historical Marker Program receives marker applications that are related to American Indians, the IHB will,

  • notify relevant tribal authorities or elders that the application has been received;
  • ask tribal authorities or elders for comments on the application; and
  • ask tribal authorities or elders for comments on the text.

Final disposition of markers is the sole authority of the Indiana Library and Historical Board, upon the recommendation of the IHB.

IHB Underground Railroad Marker Initiative

Replaces policy first approved March 30, 2001

The IHB Underground Railroad Marker Initiative will

  • document and interpret the importance of the people, places, and events which constitute the history and context of slavery, antislavery, abolition, and the Underground Railroad in Indiana;
  • bring attention to that history with a visual reminder, which enhances the educational and tourism value of Indiana’s Underground Railroad history; and
  • help to heighten awareness of the many individuals and groups working to preserve Indiana’s Underground Railroad history.

Special signage formats

The Indiana Library and Historical Board, upon the recommendation of the IHB, may authorize special signs to recognize categories of historical entities that generally would not be eligible for Indiana State Historical Markers. The IHB will provide specific guidelines and procedures to obtain such special signs.

IHB Cemetery Heritage Initiative

Replaces policy first approved March 30, 2001

The IHB Cemetery Heritage Initiative will recognize Indiana’s historic cemeteries through a special sign format that will

  • reinforce the importance of cemeteries as a resource for the interpretation of Indiana’s history;
  • bring attention to the existence of Indiana’s remaining historic cemeteries with a visual reminder of their importance; and
  • assist the many individuals and groups working to preserve and maintain Indiana’s historic cemeteries through a heightened awareness of the existence and needs.

Approval of non-state historical markers on state highways

According to Indiana Code 4-23-7.2-11(d), “No historical marker may be erected on a highway of the state highway system without the approval of the historical bureau as to its historical accuracy. This provision is in addition to any other requirement of law.” Anyone who wants to install a non-state format marker on a state highway right-of-way should contact the IHB early in the planning. The IHB will provide specific guidelines and procedures to apply for approval.

Access to archival files

All materials submitted by applicants for Indiana State Historical Markers—or created by the IHB as part of its research for any marker—are the property of the IHB, State of Indiana and become a part of its archival files. Following installation of a marker, these files are open for public inspection according to state access to public records laws. The IHB will provide specific procedures for public access to marker files.