Historic Preservation

Historical Marker Equity Program

What We Do

The Nebraska Historical Marker program helps communities and organizations recognize the people, places, and events significant to our state’s rich history.

This program offers groups, communities, and organizations the opportunity to highlight underserved stories in Nebraska history through a grant that pays for the marker to be created. Historic events and stories must be dated 1980 or earlier. To apply, click the button below. The current grant cycle will be open from March 13, 2023, through July 7, 2023.

The current grant cycle is now open and is accepting applications for the following topics:

  • Notable Nebraska Women
  • Labor History
  • Agricultural History
  • Latino History
  • Native American Voices

Thanks to the efforts of State Senator Justin Wayne of Omaha, the 2021 Nebraska legislature allocated funds to assist History Nebraska in identifying diverse stories across the state to be told through the historical marker program. The funds will offset the costs of new and replacement historical markers that meet diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion (DEAI) criteria set by the Historical Marker Equity Program.

To learn more, please review the FAQ below or click here to download the FAQ document.

Watch a special presentation at the University of Nebraska-Kearney about the program.

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Historical Marker Equity Program Advisory Council

 

  • Eric Ewing, Omaha
  • Dr. Heather Fryer, Omaha
  • Dr. Nathan Tye, Kearney
  • Vickie Schaepler, Kearney
  • Autumn Langemeier, Lincoln
  • Araceli Hernandez, Lincoln
  • Nolan Johnson, Lincoln

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the benefit of applying for this marker program?

The benefit of applying for this program is that selected marker ideas will receive individualized help and resources to develop their marker. Markers chosen in this application round will have their manufacturing cost and delivery fees funded by the Historic Marker Equity Program. This also allows your marker to be ordered more quickly once text and location details are finalized.

Note: Historic markers pursued through the regular Historic Marker Program cost between $2,000 and $6,000, payable at the time of the order.

How long is the application period open?

The Spring 2023 Application Round will be open from March 13, 2023 through June 9, 2023.  All applications must be submitted online by the end of the day or postmarked on or before June 5, 2023.

How do I know if my historic marker idea qualifies?

Read through the listed themes for this application period. If your idea fits one or more of those themes, chances are that we want to hear about it! If you have an idea that doesn’t fit those themes but that is on a topic that you find to be important to representing the rich and complex history of Nebraska, feel free to contact Autumn Langemeier at [email protected] or (402) 416-7695 to discuss the topic and your potential options.

Can I submit more than one (1) application during this application period?

Absolutely! While we recommend only submitting a couple of marker applications to ensure the best quality and improve your chances of selection, you are welcome to submit as many applications as you would like for different markers.

What information do I need to fill out this application?

To fill out this application, you will need the following information:

  • Title or Topic. A title idea or a couple of words that summarize the theme of your marker proposal. Example: Burwell and the Big Rodeo or Sugar Beet Farmers of Western Nebraska
  • Theme(s). An idea of which (1+) theme category your idea fits into. Themes are described on the program webpage.
  • Location Information. Where do you plan to have this historic marker installed? Do you have permission from the property owner or administrator? You will need a letter of approval if your proposed location is not on a state highway. See additional FAQ for outside documentation and location-specific information.
  • Text Draft. A draft of the text you would like to see on the marker or some other written summary of the story that you would like to tell with this marker. This doesn’t have to be complete. Just show us what you are thinking.
  • Bibliography. A list of sources for the above text draft or story summary so we can do further research and complete our due diligence with fact-checking.
  • Primary Contact Information. The phone #, email, address (if applicable), and name of the person we should be contacting throughout the application and marker development process.
Do I need any outside documentation?

Possibly. For this application, we ask that if the location you have chosen for hosting your marker is not state-owned land along a state highway that you include a letter of approval from the owner or administrator of the location, including the following information:

  • The location address
  • The marker topic or working title
  • A statement of approval for the marker to be at this location with the understanding that it remains state property and that the property owner or administrator will notify History Nebraska in advance should the installed marker need to be moved from the property.

*Please note that approval is tentative, and we will do a final check-in with the location manager to make sure it is still agreeable before your marker order is placed.

Where can I fill out the application?
Is there a print application I can fill out instead of the online form?

Yes! Printable applications are available upon request at [email protected] or (402) 416-7695. If you need a physical application form mailed, please be mindful of the time available within the application period. All physical applications must be postmarked before the end of the application period (June 5, 2023, at the latest) to be considered for this round of funding.

Why do I need to have a location on my application?

We have asked you to include a location in your application for a number of reasons.

First, it shows that you have given your application and the marker topic much thought and shows commitment to the project.

Second, organizing a location is necessary before any marker can be ordered. With the extended manufacturing times (currently quoted at 20-24 weeks from order submission), the best way to get your marker as quickly as possible is to set the location before marker approval. The more information we have, the faster your marker can be developed, ordered, and installed.

Finally, should anything change in the time your marker is in development, you will already have some ideas of alternate locations based on your experiences before beginning marker development.

Where can historic markers be placed?

There are a few options for placing historic markers.

  • Historic markers can be located along state highways with the agreement and input from the Nebraska Department of Transportation. Example: Many historic markers are seen in turnouts along highways and at some rest stops.
  • Historic markers can be placed on state-owned property with prior approval of the appropriate department/state organization. City or county property may also be an option and should be discussed with the appropriate overseeing level of government. Example: Some historic markers are placed on state university campuses or outside state office buildings.
  • Historic markers can be placed on private land for public purposes with the permission of the location’s owning/administering body. These markers should still be as available as possible for public viewing by citizens and visitors to the state. Example: Some museums or community centers may host historic markers on their property.
  • While historic markers can, under certain circumstances, be placed on private property being maintained as such, there are a number of concerns that must be considered before such a placement is approved. If you are considering a location that falls in this category, please get in touch with Autumn Langemeier at [email protected] or (402) 416-7695 to discuss your specific case and location considerations.
What do I need to know about finding a location for my marker?

If you want to see your historic marker along a state highway and you have some ideas for the location, then the best thing you can do is find out the GPS coordinates of the possible locations as well as save satellite images from Google Maps showing the location and the surrounding highways. This information will help NDOT decide if any of these locations are viable or if they need to help us find a different location. If you want to place the marker somewhere not along a state highway then there are a few things to consider.

First, consider the topic of your marker. Is there a location or building closely associated with it? If there is, you can try to contact the owner or administrator of that property and explain your marker idea and why you think the location they oversee is a good option. If there is not a specific location associated with your proposed topic or if the associated location is not a good option, public parks and local museums are also great options for markers. At this point, you will need to consider the location guidelines in the FAQ question, “Where can historic markers be placed?”. If you are unsure who is in charge of a specific location, a quick Google search can often tell you who runs Parks Services, owns a business, or administers your local public resources.

*Please note that no matter where a historic marker is placed, it remains the property of the State of Nebraska and should not be altered or removed from the approved address without prior communication with History Nebraska.

When will I be notified about my marker application?

Once your initial application is received you will be sent an email confirming it has arrived and been recorded. All applicants will be notified of the final status of their application by August 11, 2023.

How long does the entire process take? When will I get my historic marker?

The total time for a historic marker to be approved in concept and then developed through manufacturing and delivery varies from project to project. The average time it takes for a marker to be developed and finalized in preparation for ordering is roughly 3 months. This time can be shorter or longer depending on the needs of each project and how quickly information is exchanged. One of the reasons we ask for the location details in the application is because the most time consuming delays seem to be around finding and getting approval for a host location. Once the text and location have been finalized and a delivery contact set the marker can be ordered. Our manufacturer currently quotes delivery at 20-24 weeks from order submission.

Will History Nebraska commemorate the installation of my historic marker?
The Historic Marker Equity Program will work with you to plan an event to commemorate your new historic marker. What this event will look like may vary based on availability of staff and resources, needs of the sponsors and their community, and the interference of weather.
I have read the FAQ. If I am still confused about this program or its process, who can help me?

If you have additional questions about the Historic Marker Equity Program or are having difficulties with your application, please contact the program coordinator, Autumn Langemeier, at [email protected] or at (402) 416-7695. Expect a response within two business days.

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