Historical Marker Frequently Asked Questions

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Sample marker from the Georgia Historical Society

About Historical Markers

The Georgia Historical Marker Program is an outstanding tool for preserving the history of the State of Georgia. Historical markers serve to educate citizens and visitors alike about the people and events that have shaped our past and present. The program is an important way by which the Georgia Historical Society ensures a future for the past.

Is my subject eligible for a historical marker?

To qualify for a marker, buildings, structures, and sites of special events typically must be at least 50 years old. Nominations devoted to people generally require the subject to have been deceased 25 years or more. School and church structures, along with church congregations, must be at least 50 years old to qualify for a marker (although most successful nominations are significantly older). Unless the proposed marker subject clearly demonstrates significance beyond the local level, applications for churches and schools will not be approved. No “firsts” will be marked without sufficient documentary evidence to establish authenticity without questionNominations must be sponsored by at least one entity such as a historical organization, church, school, government, or corporation and may not be sponsored by individuals.

I want a plaque for my house (school, church, etc.). Who does that?

Typically, plaques mounted on historic structures are associated with local, state, or national registry programs like the National Register of Historic Places. These programs are not affiliated with the Georgia Historical Society or the Georgia Historical Marker Program. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources Historic Preservation Division works with applicants on the process for having structures listed on the Georgia and National Register of Historic Places. For more information on the National Register process, please contact Georgia HPD at 770.389.7842 or visit http://www.georgiashpo.org/register/nr.

What is the process for getting a historical marker?

The process for obtaining a historical marker is competitive and requires the submission of application materials that are reviewed by an independent committee that meets once per year. More information on this process can be found by reading the Marker Guidelines.

How much does it cost?

The historical marker program operates through cost-share relationships with marker sponsors. Sponsors of approved marker projects contribute toward the cost of casting and delivering the marker, and the Georgia Historical Society bears the remaining financial and administrative costs. In addition, the sponsor accepts responsibility for the maintenance of the marker. For more information on the cost and process of obtaining a new historical marker, please see the Marker Guidelines.

What is the timeline for applying for and installing a new historical marker?

All historical marker applications are due by September 1st and are reviewed by the Marker Review Committee in October. If an application is approved by the committee at the annual fall review meeting, it can take between six and twelve months for the marker to be installed and dedicated.

Does GHS offer liability coverage for historical markers?

Due to the number of historical markers under the Georgia Historical Marker Program’s care, GHS does not offer liability coverage for the historical markers. If the sponsoring organization feels that liability coverage is required, coverage may be purchased independently of GHS.

Sample marker from the Department of Natural Resources

Sample marker from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources

Which markers are maintained by GHS?

Since 1998, GHS has administered the Georgia Historical Marker Program for the state of Georgia using a silver-on-black plaque design with the Society’s seal at the top (see photo above). Approximately 250 of these markers exist across the state at this time and these markers are the property of the Georgia Historical Society.

Prior to 1998, the Georgia Historical marker Program was administered by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Georgia Historical Commission before that. These markers are typically green and have the seal of the state of Georgia at the top (see photo right). In cooperation with DNR, the custodian of the state owned historical markers, GHS is now taking the lead on the maintenance and repair of state historical markers put up prior to 1998. For more information about existing historical markers, please contact Sheila Boone at sboone@georgiahistory.com or 912.651.2125 ext. 131.

Are all historical markers in Georgia part of the Georgia Historical Marker Program?

No. A number of local groups throughout Georgia including local governments, civic groups, clubs, and historical societies have erected markers independently. These markers are not maintained by GHS. Generally, the entity responsible for the marker is noted in the marker text. If you have a question about whether or not a specific marker is within the state program, please contact us for more information.

I need to report a damaged or missing marker. Who do I contact?

If possible, try to determine who erected the marker. This information is usually at the bottom of the marker plaque. To report missing or damaged markers within the statewide program, please use the form found here to let us know about their condition. If you are unsure about whether or not it is a state marker, we will be glad to help identify the marker. Please contact Sheila Boone at sboone@georgiahistory.com or 912.651.2125 ext. 131 for more information.

But I still have questions!

No problem. For questions about new markers and the marker application process, contact Elyse Butler at 912.651.2125, ext. 119, toll free at 877.424.4789 or via email. For existing marker questions, contact Sheila Boone at 912.651.2125 ext. 131 or via email.