Markers and monuments are interesting as sources of information – and as historical artifacts!
You can see what markers and monuments are in Utah by searching our Markers and Monuments Database
The value and limitations of markers
Historical markers may contain valuable information about Utah history.
BUT – they may have been placed at a time when historical information was limited. And often a marker reflects the particular point of view of the placing organization (but not other points of view).
In all case, markers show how segments of society viewed historical events at the time the markers were placed.
What’s the difference between a marker and a monument?
In this database, a marker contains the text. It may be a bronze, aluminum, or wooden plaque.
The monument holds the marker. In most cases, the monument is a freestanding structure made of wood, stone, or brick, but sometimes the marker is attached to a structure, such as a building or bridge. Those structures then become the monument.
Sometimes the marker is inscribed directly on the monument; then the marker and the monument are the same.
What’s in the database?
The database was created in 1996 after State History conducted a statewide survey. It currently does not contain information on monuments or markers placed since then. However, we’re in the process of updating the database.
We limited the survey to markers that contain information on Utah history. We excluded (with some rare exceptions) markers and monuments found in cemeteries, and war memorials with lists of veterans or casualties.
Information in the database
The database includes information on location, physical structures, and the organizations and groups responsible for the markers and monuments. It also includes the full text of each inscription.
The database allows users to search the texts of the inscriptions. You may further limit a search by location, by responsible organization, or by a theme.
How we collected the information
The information in the database came principally from local historical societies, including Daughters of Utah Pioneer camps or companies. These local organizations surveyed their communities (or counties) to locate the markers then carefully recorded the information.
These data were then entered into a database. The database was converted to a web-searchable system in 1999. We continue to add information about markers as it becomes available to us.
For more information contact:
Senior State Historian
Utah Division of State History
300 S. Rio Grande Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84101