Submission Title

Are We Diluting History?

Presenter Information

Nicole Slaven

McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

History Department

Public History, M.A. Candidate

Abstract

Historical markers are everywhere and therefore have the potential to transmit history to a wide range of audiences. But is the history they are promoting always “valid” history? Through this research project, I hope to show trends in the validity of historical markers, how time has had an effect on the historical significance of markers, and how they correlate to the median income of the areas where they are erected.

This research project will use the Ohio Historical Marker program for its case study. I will use a random sampling of 20-25% of the markers (approximately 300) and test them on a grading rubric as objectively as possible. The markers will be judged on four categories with the opportunity to score up to ten points per section. The four categories are:

  1. Historical significance (broken down on a local, state, and national level)
  2. The lasting integrity of the historical importance
  3. The context of the marker, its text, and its location
  4. The mechanics of the marker (grammar, skilled and complete writing, correctly numbered, etc.)

The data from this case study will then be gathered and examined. The rated historic validation of the markers will be compared by the dates the markers were erected and the median household income of the township. This will show that Ohio Historical Markers have declined in historical significance over time, and the least historically significant markers are found in areas with higher median incomes. These trends can cause historically significant markers to appear diluted, and are most likely due to the broad requirements to obtain a marker, the judgment of the applications, and the purchasing of markers to increase property value.

School

McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Advisor

Dr. Alima Bucciantini

Submission Type

Paper

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Are We Diluting History?

Historical markers are everywhere and therefore have the potential to transmit history to a wide range of audiences. But is the history they are promoting always “valid” history? Through this research project, I hope to show trends in the validity of historical markers, how time has had an effect on the historical significance of markers, and how they correlate to the median income of the areas where they are erected.

This research project will use the Ohio Historical Marker program for its case study. I will use a random sampling of 20-25% of the markers (approximately 300) and test them on a grading rubric as objectively as possible. The markers will be judged on four categories with the opportunity to score up to ten points per section. The four categories are:

  1. Historical significance (broken down on a local, state, and national level)
  2. The lasting integrity of the historical importance
  3. The context of the marker, its text, and its location
  4. The mechanics of the marker (grammar, skilled and complete writing, correctly numbered, etc.)

The data from this case study will then be gathered and examined. The rated historic validation of the markers will be compared by the dates the markers were erected and the median household income of the township. This will show that Ohio Historical Markers have declined in historical significance over time, and the least historically significant markers are found in areas with higher median incomes. These trends can cause historically significant markers to appear diluted, and are most likely due to the broad requirements to obtain a marker, the judgment of the applications, and the purchasing of markers to increase property value.