Criteria and Guidelines
Historical markers inform the public about buildings, structures and sites of interest. Through the Michigan Historical Marker Program, the Michigan History Center seeks to identify and mark sites and subjects having historic significance. Historical markers:
- Educate the public about significant people, places and things in Michigan history and thereby develop the public's knowledge of the importance of Michigan history and inspire them to learn more.
- Foster people's ability to make connections between current resources and the past.
- Encourage the public to preserve historic resources that illustrate Michigan history and to develop a sense of identity as Michiganians.
- Enhance cultural tourism in this state by encouraging residents and visitors to investigate Michigan history and the state's historic sites.
Eligibility for a marker is determined by historic significance at the local, state or national level, and in the case of historic resources, integrity. The following may be eligible for a Michigan Historical Marker and subsequent listing in the State Register of Historic Sites:
- A historically significant building or structure
- A district listed in the National Register of Historic Places
- An object (i.e. vessel, shipwreck, railroad)
- A site (i.e. cemetery, archaeological site)
- A location without historic resources associated with an important historical figure, organization or event
The burden of proof is on the applicant to provide documentary evidence that demonstrates and substantiates that the resource or subject:
- Is associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history; or
- Is associated with the lives of persons significant in our past; or
- Embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period or method of construction, or represents the work of a master, or possesses high artistic values, or represents a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or
- Has yielded or is likely to yield information important to history or prehistory
Typically structures that have been moved from their original location, properties primarily commemorative in intent, and properties that have achieved significance within the past fifty years are not considered eligible for a Michigan Historical Marker unless they fall within the following categories:
- A building or structure removed from its original location but which is significant primarily for architectural value, or which is the surviving structure most associated with a historic person or event; or
- A property primarily commemorative in intent if design, age, tradition or symbolic value has invested it with its own historical significance; or
- A property achieving significance within the past fifty years if it is of exceptional importance.
- Properties associated with demolished buildings will not be considered until at least ten years after the demolition.
- Markers will not be erected on archaeological sites that retain research potential. This is done to protect the integrity of those sites.
- In order to allow time for historical assessment, typically markers will not be considered for persons until at least twenty years after their death.
- Markers will not be considered for events until at least twenty years after they occur.
Applicants should have a commitment to preserving the historic resource that is being marked and will be expected to follow the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation for any modifications that must be made, in accordance with the Michigan Historical Markers Act of 2002. The State Historic Preservation Office is available for consultation at Preservation@Michigan.gov.
Properties that no longer meet the criteria for designation due to alteration inconsistent with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation, demolition, or removal from their original site will be removed from the State Register of Historic Sites and the marker will be returned to the Michigan History Center.