Indiana University Seal

Indiana University Historical MarkersUA-11

Scope

All Indiana University campuses.

Back to top

Policy Statement

  1. Indiana University historical markers are used by the institution to note historically significant:
    1. People 
    2. Places
    3. Events
    4. Organizations in Indiana University history
  2. The University Historian and the Historical Marker Committee will review all nominations for historical markers.
  3. Upon successful completion of a formal nomination by an interested party, the University Historian and Historical Marker Committee will utilize the following criteria to determine if a topic warrants the installation of a historical marker on one of IU’s campuses or related sites.
    1. The topic notes extraordinary:
      1. University achievements
      2. Intellectual and scientific development
      3. Cultural shifts
      4. Contributions and service to society
    2. The topic has a demonstrable university-wide impact and/or has regional, national, and/or international impact.
    3. A topic must have inherent significance beyond popular appeal. The existence of an entity is insufficient to meet the level of significance set forth in this policy.
    4. Other avenues of recognition should be pursued before nominating a topic for a historical marker. This includes university alumni awards, faculty recognition awards, honorary degrees for living individuals, internal and external facility names, and other university recognition programs.
  4. Special Minimum Requirements for Time
    The University Historian and Historical Marker Committee will abide by the time periods set forth in this policy in order to evaluate a topic’s impact on Indiana University, the region, nation, and world. As a result, the following waiting periods will be observed before a marker can be approved. The Historical Marker Committee may waive this requirement if the suggested topic has a clear, impactful, and immediate significance that warrants approval.
    1. Individuals: Five years must pass between a person’s death and consideration by the University Historian and Historical Marker Committee for a historical marker.
    2. Organizations: Twenty years must pass from the organization’s founding before it can be considered for a historical marker.
    3. Events: Twenty years must pass from the time of the event before it can be considered for a historical marker.
    4. Places: Twenty years must pass from the association of a place before it can be considered for a historical marker.
  5. Prohibitions
    Certain topics will not be considered for historical markers: Living individuals, including current faculty, staff, students, or donors; except as they meet the extraordinary standards outlined in 3 above.
  6. Latitude with Approved Topics
    The University Historian and Historical Marker Committee will have the latitude to adjust the focus of nominated topics to ensure that important elements are highlighted. This may be done to emphasize that topics are not necessarily being honored with a historical marker but rather are being noted for their historical significance. This latitude is granted to ensure that challenging topics are addressed in a responsible manner.
  7. Physical Marker
    All Indiana University Historical Markers will be designed, sited, and installed by the Office of the Vice President for Capital Planning and Facilities.

Back to top

Reason for Policy

This policy is established to provide for an orderly, coordinated, well researched, and informed practice of selecting topics for Indiana University historical markers and installing said markers university-wide. This policy is designed to establish a level of historical significance and a procedure to ensure proper vetting, research, and consultation is made before historical markers are installed.

Back to top

Procedures

Administration

The University Historian, supported by the Office of the Bicentennial and the Office of the President, shall handle administrative duties for this program. The University Historian shall coordinate committee and research activity. Upon the conclusion of the Indiana University Bicentennial at the end of 2020, the University Historian shall assume administrative duties in addition to committee and research duties.

Nomination Process 

  1. Any member of the university community as well as the public may nominate a topic for consideration by the University Historian and the Historical Marker Committee.
  2. Topics nominated for a historical marker will require the following documentation:
    1. Historical Marker Nomination Form
    2. Statement of Significance
    3. One Letter of Support from an archivist, historian, or other qualified individual who supports the topic and can professionally attest to its historical significance.

Review Process

  1. Nominations for topics shall be accepted beginning in Fall 2016.
  2. Nominations shall be reviewed by staff to ensure that minimum requirements for documentation are met.
  3. All nominations that meet minimum requirements shall be sent to the University Historian for an initial review of historical significance.
  4. The University Historian shall consult with Indiana University General Counsel to identify topics that may pertain to any pending lawsuits or settlements that may preclude a topic from being considered.
  5. The University Historian shall assign nominations to members of the Historical Marker Committee to research topics that may warrant commemoration with an Indiana University Historical Marker.
  6. Committee members, along with assistance from Bicentennial staff, Archives liaisons, and the University Historian, shall research topics to verify their significance with primary resources and draft possible marker text.
  7. The Office of the Vice President for Capital Planning and Facilities and the Indiana University Landscape Architect shall determine locations where potential markers will be installed.
  8. Committee members shall present their research and text to the Historical Marker Committee for review and comment once per semester (Fall, Spring, Summer). Potential marker locations will be presented to the Historical Marker Committee by the Office of the Vice President for Capital Planning and Facilities and the Indiana University Landscape Architect.
  9. The full Historical Marker Committee shall vote to either proceed with marker installation recommendations or reject the topic for presented topics.
  10. The University Historian, with assistance from assigned committee members, and Bicentennial staff, shall finalize research and text based on Historical Marker Committee comments.
  11. The University Historian will recommend topics and marker text to the President of Indiana University for final approval.

Installation and Dedication

  1. Upon approval by the President of Indiana University, the University Historian and the Office of the Bicentennial will work with Indiana University Events, the Office of the Vice President of Capital Planning and Facilities, and the Landscape Architect to order, install, and dedicate historical markers.
  2. Installed markers will be recorded by the Office of the Bicentennial, University Historian, and relevant archives and records will be made publicly available through University Archives.

Editing and/or Removal of Historical Markers

The University Historian may consider the removal or editing of historical markers if new information reveals factual inaccuracy or revised interpretive significance. Should this occur, the University Historian, in consultation with the Historical Marker Committee, shall determine if the marker should be edited or removed.

Existing Historical Markers

  1. The University Historian, Office of the Bicentennial, and Office of the Vice President of Capital Planning and Facilities will survey all IU campuses for existing historical markers and create a comprehensive list.
  2. The University Historian, Office of the Bicentennial, and Historical Marker Committee shall review the text of existing historical markers for accuracy.
    1. Should no factual errors be identified, Office of the Vice President of Capital Planning and Facilities, in collaboration with the University Historian, may create a new historical marker in the Indiana University Historical Marker format and reinstall said marker to ensure markers on all campuses have a uniform design. The historical value of the existing marker will be considered by the University Historian when determining if a new marker should be created in the Indiana University Historical Marker format.
    2. Should factual errors be identified, the University Historian shall work with the Office of the Vice President of Capital Planning and Facilities to edit the historical marker.

Back to top

Definitions

University Historian
Appointed by the President of Indiana University, the University Historian guides policy development and best practices related to IU’s historical identity. This includes the coordination of research and public outreach for the bicentennial, the development of curricula to enable students to participate in IU history, the creation of historical markers, and the coordination of publications. The University Historian convenes a Council of Historians to assist with this position’s assigned tasks.

Historical Marker Committee
A committee appointed by the University Historian which is comprised of no more than 15 voting faculty members of merit and five ex officio members who will assist the University Historian with evaluating nominations, conducting research, determining historical marker locations, and writing historical marker text. Member terms should be staggered and are for two-years; members may be reappointed for a second term at the discretion of the University Historian. (Half of the inaugural appointees will serve a one-year term to ensure the entire committee does not turn over simultaneously.)

Back to top

Sanctions

Any historical markers that are installed on campuses without following the procedures outlined by this policy may be removed by the Office of the Vice President for Capital Planning and Facilities at the behest of the University Historian.

Back to top

Additional Contacts

Subject Contact Phone Email
Historical significance, research, and interpretation Dr. James Capshew (University Historian) (812) 855-3655

univhist@iu.edu

Office of the Bicentennial Administration and Program Questions Jeremy Hackerd (Bicentennial Project Manager) (812) 856-2000

jhackerd@iu.edu

Placement and design of historical markers

Adam Thies (Assist Vice President)

Mia Williams (University Landscape Architect)

(812) 855-8195

(812) 855-1266

athies@iu.edu

miawilli@indiana.edu

Location of historical documents and records Kristin Browning Leaman (Bicentennial Archivist) (812) 855-5897

kbleaman@indiana.edu

Back to top

History

This policy was established in 2016.

Back to top