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What’s New in 2022 with Pennsylvania’s Historical Marker Program

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The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) invites individuals, public agencies, and private organizations to nominate historic people, properties, events, or innovations with statewide or national significance for PHMC’s State Historical Marker Program. Meet the new coordinator, learn more about some changes to this year’s nomination process, and sign up for our upcoming webinars below.

The State Historical Marker Program helps communities throughout Pennsylvania recognize, preserve, and promote their history. The more than 2,500 markers tell the stories of Native Americans, immigrants, and early settlers; scientists, athletes, entertainers, and artists; factories and businesses; struggles for freedom and equality; and a multitude of other topics.

One Black man and one white
At the 2021 dedication of the Dr. Oscar James Cooper historical marker. Dr. Cooper, from Philadelphia, was one of the founders of Omega Psi Phi at Howard University, the nation’s first fraternity established at a historically Black college or university.

You can take a look at the new markers approved in 2021 and before on the PHMC website. You can also find a calendar of upcoming dedications.

This year, there are a few significant changes potential nominators should be aware of:

1. New Historical Marker Coordinator!

I joined the PA SHPO in November 2021 as the new Historical Marker Program Coordinator. Born and raised in Montgomery County, I am very proud to take on the role. Karen Galle left some big shoes to fill and I look forward to helping fellow Pennsylvanians celebrate their history.

2. New Annual Deadline!

In 2021, PHMC transitioned to a new data management system (see below) that impacted the traditional December 1 nomination deadline. For 2022, PHMC is giving marker nominations a fresh start.

All Historical Marker nominations must be submitted by June 1 annually. Nominations for preliminary review must be submitted by April 30.

Pennsylvania’s historical markers tell many different stories from Pennsylvania’s 300+ year history. like the one told by this 2021 marker in Honesdale, Wayne County.

3.New Submission Process!

No more paper copies! Along with the new deadline, nominations must now be submitted through PA-SHARE, the PA SHPO’s online GIS and data management system.

This is the first year PHMC will accept online nominations only. Paper copies will not be accepted.  If you don’t already have a free Keystone Login account, you will need to create one to use PA-SHARE and submit a nomination. Guidelines for setting up a Keystone ID and using PA-SHARE are available at https://www.phmc.pa.gov/Preservation/Historical-Markers/Pages/Nominate.aspx.

4. New Marker Costs!

Beginning with markers approved in 2022, PHMC assumes the costs for manufacturing and delivery of new markers. Sponsors of approved markers will still be responsible for the management and costs associated with installation. PHMC will also cover the costs to replace missing or damaged markers.

A marker for Anna Morris Holstein during fabrication. Holstein, from Upper Merion Township, Montgomery County, led the effort to acquire, preserve, and restore Washington’s Headquarters at Valley Forge, served as a nurse during the Civil War, and more.

PHMC appreciates that the costs of manufacturing and delivery of markers could be a burden and sometimes even a hinderance to the recognition of PA history. We are pleased to support nominators and sponsors to make the Historical Markers Program more accessible to all Pennsylvanians.

5. New Webinar!

For those interested to learn more about the nomination process and/or how to use PA-SHARE, PHMC will host a webinar on how to submit a successful nomination for the State Historical Marker program. The webinar is invaluable to anyone who is new to PA-SHARE and is unfamiliar with the marker program!

We’ll cover technical information about how to use PA-SHARE, appropriate topics for a Historical Marker, and requirements for a complete application. I’ll also elaborate on expected timelines for the process and provide helpful information on how to submit a strong nomination.

PA SHPO archaeologist Justin McKeel with Dr. Stan Lantz at the dedication of the Mead Island Tradition marker in 2021.

Please register for one of these dates (both dates will cover the same material): Tuesday, March 15 at 12pm OR Thursday, March 17 at 1:30pm. You can register at https://phmc_markers_webinar_2022.eventbrite.com. Please feel free to submit questions ahead of time to allidavis@pa.gov.

For anyone unable to attend the scheduled session, the webinars will be recorded and posted to the PHMC YouTube Channel about a week after the second webinar.

3 Comments

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  1. Michelle Beck says:

    I started collecting the magnets of these markers will all markers have magnets to collect????

  2. Benno Himmel says:

    Love those markers, telling the history of PA we would never hear, or read about!

  3. Matt Pyle says:

    Interesting, I will have to look into this program. Maybe we can get a marker at work.

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