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Hunt for Markers

Every year, Indiana Historical Bureau conducts a survey of Indiana State Historical Markers. Why? Well, with over 475 markers across the entire state, it’s the best way to keep track of the collection. Markers get vandalized, damaged, and weather-worn, and we rely on volunteers and concerned passersby to report to us. There’s a delay, especially for markers in remote locations, and an annual inventory allows us to track change over time and identify persistent problems that might necessitate relocation, repair, or replacement.

How can I help?

Notice the Indiana State Historical Markers around you. Since you’re on our website, there’s a pretty good chance you do this already. If you see a marker while you’re traveling, pull over to a safe location and snap a few photos. Then, share the photos with us on Flickr.

Alternatively, you can go on a more organized marker hunt—gather locations for markers in your area (we recommend Historic Marker Database, which offers downloads of .GPX files for your GPS and guidemaps for your smartphone or tablet) and see how many you can document in an afternoon. Take friends, family, and/or pets along for more fun.

Any special instructions for the photos?

Just a couple:
1. Take a photo of each side of the marker—depending on weather patterns and other environmental conditions, the condition of each side may be different.
2. Take a photo of the post.
3. Take a wide-angle photo of the marker, so that we can see the general environment around the marker. How far back should you be when snapping this shot? Not too far—remember the friends/family/pets you’re hunting alongside? If they fit in the frame, that’ll do it. This helps IHB staff assess the extent of any damage.

Then what?

Upload your photos to our Flickr photo pool. Use tags or comments if there's something that isn't obvious in the image (for example, tag the photo "leaning" when the marker is not perpendicular to the ground or add a comment to that effect).  IHB staff check the pool regularly for new additions and use your images to assess the condition of Indiana State Historical Markers in your county. See the results of the last survey.

After we get your photos, we’ll thank you on our website. But wait, there’s more! The next time you visit the IHB Book Shop or order online, mention the Marker Survey and give us your Flickr user name for an extra 5% off.

Don’t have access to Flickr?

You can still participate, though it’ll be a bit more time-consuming. Just send photos of each marker as an email attachment to our Marker Program Manager, or mail them on a disc with “Attn: Marker Hunt” on the envelope.