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Indiana Historical Bureau

IHB > Historical Markers > Finding and Using Primary Sources > Fix a Marker > Historical Marker Repair Instructions Historical Marker Repair Instructions

"I am of the opinion that it is an opportunity to honor two sets of Hoosiers: the first, of course, are those who felt an event was noteworthy enough to commemorate it with a placard and their effort to arrange for its creation. The second is the people and place being honored. As citizens – of a local community, a state, a nation – we have a obligation to respect and recall for future generations the progress made on our behalf by others who have come before us. I will likely never do anything famous or remarkable, so this allows me to ‘leave my mark’ on history by, in a small way, preserving it.” –John McClain, Marker Repair Volunteer

Thank you for your interest in repainting an Indiana State Historical Marker. It’s easy and rewarding (see steps below). If you are interested in repairing a marker, please note that some repairs must be made by the manufacturer. Please contact us early in your planning, with images of the current condition of the marker, if you believe repairs are needed. Our markers are undergoing a review for text accuracy, which also affects their eligibility for repair—IHB staff will look at the extent of damage and the review status and determine next steps.

Step One: Get Permission.

In most cases, repainting a marker requires removal from the post. You wouldn’t believe how many calls we (and the police) get that report missing markers or theft/vandalism in progress. Please contact us in advance of your project to make sure we’re aware of the condition of the marker and your plan to help.

After confirming that the marker can be repaired or repainted locally, IHB staff will get back to you with a Permission to Remove letter and pointers for removing and reinstalling the marker and/or post. The letter will reassure any concerned citizens or police officers that your removal of the marker is authorized.

Step Two: Gather Materials.

You’ll need brushes, specific colors and types of paint, a wire brush, and a few other items to repaint a marker. Indiana State Historical Markers have a distinct color scheme and alteration from the official format is a violation of Indiana law. Download the color specs and supply list.

Step Three: Apply Elbow Grease.

Now for the fun part—prepare the marker by removing loose paint and dirt, wash it, let it dry, and then start painting! The process takes about 8 hours over 2 days.

Need help? 
Check out this photo tutorial from St. Jude’s School’s 4th graders! And please, don't hesitate to contact us if you need assistance.

Step Four: Show Off Your Work!

Please take photos of the marker before, during, and after the process and share them with us on Flickr, or by emailing them to our Marker Repair Coordinator.

We want to thank you for your hard work, and showcase it on our website—let us know who you are, who helped with the project, and how it went by taking this short survey.

If you have any questions or concerns please contact the Historical Bureau:
Phone 317-232-2537 or e-mail IHB@history.IN.gov