Markers & Monuments
UPDATING THE DATABASE
The Division of State History has a statutory responsibility (Utah Code 9-8-203-3) to create and maintain an inventory of markers and monuments, enter into cooperative agreements with other groups and organizations to collect and maintain the information needed for the inventory, encourage the use of volunteers to help collect the information and to maintain the inventory, and make the inventory available to the public and history and heritage organizations.
UDSH created the database in 1996 after the State of Utah appropriated funds for a statewide survey of historical markers and monuments. In 2017, we began to redesign and update the Markers & Monuments Database by repackaging existing data, resurveying markers, updating information, and adding new markers on a platform that meets the needs of a twenty-first century audience.
The work of placing the data on a geo-spatial platform was performed by UDSH's Antiquities Section.
WHAT WILL YOU FIND IN THE DATABASE?
This current database enables historians, researchers, and citizens to access the name, location, and photos of markers located throughout Utah. The database is fully searchable by location, theme, and keyword.
We are currently working with the Marriott Library at the University of Utah to house the text and other information, including additional photographs, of historical markers.
INTERPRETING HISTORICAL MARKERS
First, terminology. A marker is usually a bronze, aluminum, or wood plaque that contains text and sometimes images. The monument holds the marker and, in most cases, is a freestanding structure made of wood, stone, or brick. In cases where the marker is inscribed directly on the monument, then the marker and the monument are the same.
Historical markers may contain valuable information about Utah history, but they are also historical artifacts, reflecting the particular point of view of the placing organization. They show how segments of society viewed historical events at the time the markers were placed. As such, they should be used with caution by researchers and historians, never taken at face-value and always corroborated by other historical sources.
BLOG SERIES ON HISTORICAL MEMORIALS
To understand the nature, meaning, and uses of historical memorials, the Utah State Historical Society has launched a new blog series. Published essays include:
- Native Places: An Indigenous Atlas of Utah and the Intermountain West
- Thinking about Geographic Names in Utah