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The Washington State Historical Society is seeking public participation in identifying monuments, markers, and plaques across the state that are imprinted with the Society’s name. Our goal is to work with local communities and stakeholders to develop a full inventory of these historical markers and to audit them for physical integrity and historical accuracy, as well as evaluating whether they represent our mission and professional standards.

This collaborative project is one of the actions outlined in our  Statement of Commitment to examine our past and build a more inclusive future. Read the full Statement of Commitment here.

The Washington State Historical Society was founded in 1891, and today, 129 years later, the way we interpret and teach history has evolved. History has multiple perspectives and includes important stories that are often overlooked or ignored due to racial, gender, or other biases. We are asking the questions, do markers and monuments established a century ago represent the Historical Society’s mission of partnering with our communities to explore how history connects us all, and does the historical interpretation support our values of scholarship and diversity?

As we complete this statewide inventory, we will facilitate dialogue with local communities and constituents related to monuments and markers where further evaluation is warranted.

Why do we need your help?

Washington is a big state so we are seeking the public’s help in conducting this audit. The Historical Society’s list of markers does not include full information or current condition reports. In addition, some monuments and markers have been relocated over the years. With participation from communities across the state, we hope to generate a full and detailed list of monuments and markers with the Washington State Historical Society’s name on them.

How can you contribute to this statewide inventory of monuments and markers?

Monuments and markers attributed to the Washington State Historical Society come in different shapes and sizes. They might be statues, columns, stone markers, roadside signs, or plaques on buildings. We are also seeking information about highway heritage markers placed in collaboration with the Department of Transportation and Washington State Parks between 1950 and 1990.

Download a handy “how to” guide.

When you find a marker or monument that is attributed to the Washington State Historical Society, email information to monuments@wshs.wa.gov.

  • Please send us a link to the GIS coordinates in Google maps
  • Send photographs of the item and its surroundings.

If you’re unsure of whether a name on the marker indicates our organization, for example if it says Washington History Society or something similar, please go ahead and submit, so we can further research the item.

Highway Heritage Markers

This is one of the categories we would like to include in the inventory and assessment.  The Department of Transportation partnered with other organizations to install culture and heritage markers, and many of the locations for these markers are listed at this link. NOTE: These markers do not necessarily include the name of Washington State Historical Society, however we want to include them all in the inventory; it is not necessary that they include the WSHS name, we encourage you to send images and notes about the condition of these markers.

What kind of photos are helpful?
  • Photos capturing the entire monument
  • Close ups of the complete inscription
  • Close ups of any damage or natural wear and tear
  • Images of anything notable in the surroundings that would aid in identifying the location of the monument/marker
  • Photos of adjacent or nearby interpretive signage, labels, or markers
What happens next?

Once we have a complete audit, we’ll gather historians and preservationists to review and identify those that need repairs, updating or changes. We will consult with relevant tribes and communities, and prioritize actions to take. We will facilitate public dialogue around any markers, monuments or plaques identified for possible changes.

The Washington State Historical Society is grateful for your participation. Thank you!

For further information, contact Heritage Outreach Manager Allison Campbell at allison.campbell@wshs.wa.gov.