Initial THC Recommendations for CHCs packet was issued in 2016. The following revised recommendations were shared via the CHC listserv in 2020 to help CHCs resume activity that could be accomplished within social distancing guidelines. This revised set of recommendations highlights basic work that CHC chairs can address or delegate to fellow appointees.
Verify CHC Contacts for Marker Issues
Historical markers are high profile efforts for THC and CHCs. So, let’s prioritize improving communication with THC markers staff, marker applicants, and the public. Consider the following recommendations.
- Ensure that the current marker chair is prepared to continue related responsibilities, even during the current pandemic. Marker chair job description here.
- If CHC doesn’t have a marker chair, designate another appointee to take this position. If a marker chair isn't designated, CHC chair will be the point person for all marker business. If appointees are new to marker applications, consider working with a local historian who has experience with the marker process.
- Submit current chair contact information to the THC for new or existing marker chairs. Please take time to check with individuals; direct verification is the only way to ensure accurate contact information.
- Review THC web information regarding responsibilities associated with the marker chair position and become familiar with marker procedures. THC’s marker cycle and policies have been updated recently. Historical markers main web page here provides links to even more information.
- Decide if a marker committee is right for your CHC. If the CHC is involved heavily in marker work, this committee can help identify, prioritize, and implement marker-related work in a timely and efficient manner. These individuals can be tasked with keeping track of marker program policy updates.
Consult With THC Marker Staff Regularly
Because Texas has 254 counties, THC staff manage more than 200 open marker applications and issues related to more than 16,000 existing state markers. With 3 staff people, THC relies on CHCs to keep track of the specifics of marker issues in their respective counties.
- Check CHC files and emails to ensure that pending issues have been resolved. Contact THC staff and and/or application sponsors who have a stake in resolving the issue to secure agreed upon resolution.
- Keep a running list of marker issues for CHC’s reference and put decisions in writing for your file and copy THC staff. Track application process for new markers and track physical conditions for existing markers.
- Contact THC staff with issues related to marker relocation and replacement. Review policies related to these issues prior to discussing these issues with the public.
- Work with local communities, partners, and THC staff to identify potential marker topics, especially topics related to underserved individuals and underrepresented themes. More on THC’s Undertold Program here.
- Plan marker dedications and marker installations with respect to social distancing guidelines. Share this information with THC marker staff and, if appropriate, they post details on THC’s web calendar located here.
- Consider timing of group events associated with marker celebrations. Many CHCs are installing markers when delivered but waiting to conduct public celebrations until a time more conducive to large gatherings. General marker dedication information provided here.
Connect the Public to Historical Markers
Historical markers are the traditional interpretive tool used by CHCs to promote local history to the public. This means that marker-related efforts present opportunities every day to share our stories with people.
- Help the public navigate the marker application process, which is outlined in THC’s Marker Toolkit.
- When able, help applicants research marker topics. If this effort is more than appointees can manage, point interested individuals toward THC staff and marker web material located here.
- Once potential Undertold Marker topics have been shortlisted, identify partners who may want to pursue applications for Undertold topics.
- Use the CHC's interactions with the public to reinforce the importance of local history and demonstrate the CHC’s dedicated public service.
- Promote marker topics and connect those topics to tell the broader history of your county!