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Monument/Marker/Wayside Exhibit Criteria


Monument Standards
A monument is primarily artistic or commemorative in nature and is associated with a specific event or person. Plans, drawings, or photographs must be submitted to SPCR for review. The size, scale, quality, and appropriateness of content and location of the proposed monument will be considered.


Marker Standards
A marker is generally made of stone and simply marks the location of a significant event, place, or person. Markers contain an inscription that identifies its purpose. The Wyoming Landmarks Commission placed many markers in the 1950s – ‘60s. Plans, drawings, or photographs must be submitted to SPCR for review. The size, scale, quality, and appropriateness of content and location of the proposed marker will be considered.

Wayside Interpretive Exhibit Standards
There are two classes of signs:

  • Class I: Upright Mounts
  • Class II: Angled Mount (Low Profile)

These fall into four types that are determined by the amount of information to be conveyed depending on whether the reader is on foot or in a vehicle.

  • Type A: from a moving vehicle
  • Type B: from a parked vehicle
  • Type C: on foot reading single sign
  • Type D: on foot reading kiosk

Upright signs can be placed in nearly any situation. Angled signs are used most effectively as interpretive signs. They can be used singularly or grouped in combination with an upright, either stand alone, or attached to an upright kiosk structure.

Class I
Roadside Pullout
Rest Area
Recreation Area Parking
Information Center
Trailhead Parking 
Class II
Wayside Exhibit
Rest Area
Along Trail
Information Center
Historic Site

SPCR will make the final determination on which class of sign is most appropriate for the site.


Traditional Historical Signs

SPCR has traditionally placed standardized signs that are cast aluminum and framed on either side by 12-foot and 7-foot high posts that are bolted together. These signs measure 4’ x 6’.

These signs will be used in the following cases:

  • At the historic site (ex. Register Cliff, Dull Knife Battle, etc.)
  • To replace an existing marker

Applications for a traditional historical marker must include:

  • Text – less than 250 words
  • Photographs or illustrations – 1-2

Wayside Interpretive Exhibit sign 
Sign by Rocky Mountain Region Center for Design and Interpretation

A wayside interpretive exhibit contains interpretive panels or kiosks with panels and is located along roads or trails. Interpretive signs are smaller, low profile, and contain more graphics and less text than the traditional historical signs.

Standard Size: 2’ x 3’ (24” x 36”)
Standard Frame: (pic) pedestal mount with rustic style supports to match traditional historical markers.
Standard Mounting: Low profile. 
Template: SPCR has developed a sign template to be used in most cases. Please contact the Monuments and Markers program coordinator to discuss sign design.



These signs will be used in the following cases:

  • When it is in a safe and convenient place for people to stop
  • When there are more than two historic events/sites that need interpretation
  • In places where the interpretation is removed from the actual site

Applications for an interpretive marker must include:

  • Text – less than 150 words
  • Photographs or illustrations – less than 10 (not all graphics will be used)

Criteria for Monument/Marker Placement 

To ensure that highway signage is accessible to motorists and can most effectively educate the traveling public, WYDOT is responsible for approving the site for new signage. The final location of the signage is based on the following criteria:

  • Safety. It is expected that travelers will need to pull off the road to read the signage, and then reenter the highway; they must be able to do so conveniently and safely. Hence, signage must be placed so that it does not block drivers’ lines of sight when making turns or create traffic hazards when travelers stop to read the signage.

    Signage also must be placed where they are least likely to be struck by motor vehicles or otherwise endanger motorists or the signage. Curves, industrial or commercial intersections, congested areas and similar hazardous places should be avoided whenever possible.
  • Visibility. The signage should be placed in a safe but relatively high-traffic area, so that the largest possible number of travelers can read it. Given the choice between a secondary road and a primary road, the signage will be placed on a primary road. Signage is not permitted on interstate or other limited access highways, except in rest areas.
  • Location. Ideally, the signage should be placed as close as possible to the site it commemorates. Sometimes, however, because of traffic conditions, the remoteness of the site, or other reasons, the signage must be placed some distance away.
  • Cost efficiency. It is more cost effective to place the signage at an existing turnout or wide shoulder rather than construct one. Sometimes, however, it is necessary to clear a pull-off area, because signage cannot be read from a moving vehicle.
  • Placement on private property. State signage is usually placed in WYDOT rights-of-way or on public property. Under special circumstances it may be placed on private property (usually because of highway conditions) if the owner gives WYDOT, in writing, access rights for maintenance purposes.
  • Placement on State Property. When signage is placed on State property, including the WYDOT right-of-way, ownership of the signage must be turned over to the State of Wyoming. A Memorandum of Agreement between the State Historic Preservation Office, WYDOT (if applicable), and the signage proponent will be created.

Placement Costs and Long-term Maintenance Issues of Monuments and Markers

SPCR’s budget often does not provide for the manufacture of new markers. In the past, the manufacture of markers, and frequently the materials for signposts used to erect markers, has been paid for by private individuals or organizations. If an organization or group is interested in placing a new monument or marker, they should be aware of the associated costs. Approximately $4900 will be necessary to cast a traditional historical marker and additional installation costs may apply. Approximately $1,500 - $2,000 will be necessary to fabricate an angle mounted sign. The State of Wyoming then assumes ownership of the signage, erects, monitors, and insures them. All signage will be considered in relation to budgetary allowances and long-term costs assumed by the State.

SPCR will consider the associated cost of the placement of the signage and will inform the sponsor of the anticipated cost prior to the approval of the sign. All associated costs will be the responsibility of the sponsor.

The sponsor of the marker should consider contacting Wyoming Office of Tourism or other grant sources to apply for a grant to place an interpretive marker and/or develop a new highway turnout.

Wyoming Office of Tourism and Sign Grant Program. For more information call the Office of Tourism.

Private Markers

If SPCR declines a subject for a state historical marker, it may be an appropriate topic for a local or private marker. Several counties, cities, and historical groups have in place local historical marker programs for marking places of local and regional significance. Please see Appendix B. Individuals or groups are free to pursue the purchase of privately funded markers or plaques. Such markers must be placed on private property outside the highway right-of-way and may not use the same sign brand identification used by the State. Private signage is not considered part of the official state marker program.

Signage Content

Signage Content Criteria
Criteria Approval
The Monuments and Markers program commemorates facts, persons, events, and places prominently identified with the history of the nation, state, or region. Each proposed marker text shall be reviewed and edited by the coordinator of the marker program and the staff of SPCR and, with the location, shall be approved by the SPCR Monuments and Markers Advisory Committee.

Subject Matter Criteria
No signage shall be erected to commemorate a living person.

In order for an historic event to be eligible for commemoration with signage, the event must have occurred at least fifty years ago. Likewise, a place or person must have attained its significance at least fifty years ago, although there are exceptions if the event, place, or person is of extraordinary historical significance.

It is recognized that many people, events, and sites are important to the heritage of Wyoming. Because of limited locations available for signage and the cost of manufacturing and erecting new markers and insuring them, SPCR will consider placing new signage only if the subject matter of the marker illustrates and clarifies the role of a person, organization, industry, site, building, or event that played a significant role in Wyoming’s history.

The burden of proof is on the applicant to provide documentary evidence that demonstrates and substantiates that the resource or subject:

  • is associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history; or
  • is associated with the lives of persons significant in our past; or
  • embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction or that represents the work of a master, or that possesses high artistic values, or that represents a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or
  • has yielded or is likely to yield information important to history or prehistory.

Historical Accuracy
Text must be historically accurate and developed using available published sources. If possible, an expert on the sign topic will review the proposed text for content and SPCR staff will correct any historical inaccuracies. Sign content should rely upon historical fact and avoid local myth or folklore. A list of references should be included with the submission of the proposed text.

Educational Value and Relevance
The program strives to inform people from all backgrounds about Wyoming’s history. Therefore, the text of signage should provide the reader with significant and meaningful historic information about the subject addressed by the signage and should be written as if the reader has no previous knowledge about the subject.

Monuments and Markers Writing Style
To ensure stylistic consistency among state signage, SPCR staff will revise and edit draft texts. The goal is to provide as much accurate and interesting information as possible in a limited space. Sponsors can assist us by following these suggestions when writing their drafts.

  • Aim for no more than 25 lines of text containing no more than 82 to 86 character spaces per line.
  • Spell out numbers less than 10, otherwise use Arabic numerals (one, two, etc., or 10, 599, 34,987, etc.).
  • Do not use honorary titles such as Mr. and Mrs., but do use and abbreviate occupational titles and ranks (the Rev., Col., Maj. Gen., Dr., etc.).
  • Use military style for dates; abbreviate months (7 Dec. 1941)
  • Do not use commas before or after Jr., Sr., II, etc. (e.g. James Brown Jr. was secretary of the board)
  • On first use, give a person’s full name as he or she used it or as it is best known (e.g. Alexander Graham Bell; Maggie L. Walker), but on subsequent use only the last name.

For advice on writing concisely and vigorously, refer to the Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White. The text should be submitted with the understanding that it will likely undergo further editing and revision by SPCR staff in consultation with the sponsor or original author.

Text Content
When preparing the application, take into account the following questions:

  • What was the cause and effect?
  • What changes or consequences occurred and why?
  • How did the subject influence the course of events?
  • What and how widespread was the impact?
  • How was the person, place, or event of statewide or national historical significance?
  • What was the subject’s lasting influence in history?
  • What role did the subject play in their area of significance?
  • What factors contributed to the subject’s development?

Themes for Text Content
Themes and sub-themes

The First People
  • Culture
  • Religion
  • Conflict

The Push West

  • Exploration
  • Mountain Men
  • Missionaries
  • Emigrant Trails
    • Oregon
    • California
    • Mormon Pioneer
    • Bozeman
    • Bridger
    • Overland
    • Cherokee
  • Military
    • Forts
    • Roads
    • Conflicts
  • Transportation
    • Railroad
    • Aviation
    • Roads
On the Range
  • Agriculture
  • Stockmen
  • Homesteading
  • Landscapes (natural and manmade)
  • Wildlife
  • Settlement
  • Settlement Trails/Roads
  • Conflict (including outlaws)

Building Community

  • Town/City Founding
  • Development (building towns and cities)
  • Architecture and Planning
  • Transportation
  • Politics/Government
  • Women and Minorities
  • Education
  • Cultural and Social Traditions
  • Religion

Boom and Bust

  • Resources
  • Industries
  • Railroads
  • Mining
  • Agriculture
  • Tourism
  • Energy Development
  • Commerce
  • Great Depression
    • CCC
    • WPA

Time Periods

Protohistoric 1720-1800
Early Historic 1800-1842
Pre-territorial 1842-1868
Territorial 1868-1890
Expansion 1890-1920
Depression 1920-1939
World War II 1940-1946
Post WWII 1947-1955
Modern 1956-Present

Applying for a Monument or Marker

Procedure for Developing and Submitting a Marker Application

  1. Contact the State Parks, Historic Sites, and Trails (SPHST), Monuments and Markers Coordinator, Dan Bach (307-777-6314). Check on the need for your proposed marker before taking further steps in the process.
  2. Research and Write the Marker Text. Research the topic by consulting multiple primary and secondary sources. Write a roughly 150 - 250 word text, following the “Monuments and Markers Writing Style” (see above). It is often helpful to seek assistance from local and regional historical associations and governmental entities in researching and crafting the proposed text. Please see Appendix C: Text Writing Assistance for a list of contacts. Also, examples of recently approved marker texts can be requested from the SPHST to assist you in the writing process. NOTE: changes likely will be made by the SPCR staff to the proposed text to meet marker criteria.
  3. Suggest a Suitable Marker Location. The marker preferably should be placed on public land or a highway right-of-way; if it is on private land then SPCR must receive the owner’s consent for access to monitor the sign. See, “Criteria for Marker Placement,” when choosing a location. WYDOT will give final approval for the marker’s placement if it is within the WYDOT right-of-way. Please see the Marker Placement Approval form to complete this process (Appendix A).
  4. Submit Your Application Packet to SPCR for Review. Applications must be submitted by May 1, September 1, and/or December 1 of every year. Follow the instructions provided in the application for completing it. Please see the Monuments and Markers Application form (Appendix A). If you have any questions, please contact Dan Bach (307-777-6314) at the State Historic Preservation Office. After reviewing a topic, if MMAC determines it is not eligible for a state marker, the sponsor will be promptly notified.
  5. Work with SPHST in Revising or Refining the Marker Text. Before submitting a text to MMAC for approval, an editorial review committee made up of staff members of SPHST will review the text. Any major questions about the text that arise will be discussed with the sponsor, including further documentation, if necessary, to support the marker text. If changes to the text are warranted, SPHST’s staff will work closely with the sponsor – or the sponsor’s author – to produce a mutually agreed upon text. Because SPCR and MMAC bear the ultimate responsibility for what appears on a marker, they reserve the right to edit a text for accuracy, clarity, brevity, and thoroughness. MMAC, under the supervision of the Director of SPCR, has the final authority on wording.

Procedure for the Approval Process

  1. Evaluation of Application by the Monuments and Markers Advisory Committee. Applications are evaluated three times every year by an advisory committee made up of members with varying areas of expertise in the field of Wyoming history.

    The application will be evaluated for historical accuracy, inclusion of interpretation and analysis of the subject of the nomination, demonstration of an understanding of historical context, and appropriateness of the documentation provided.

    The application must be accurate and supported with the documentation provided. The MMAC considers many applications and may be unable to consult sources listed in the application, so it is imperative to include pertinent photocopied excerpts from valid primary and secondary sources, along with citations. Limit material to less than 20 pages and wisely choose the information that relates most directly to the focus of your application.
  2. Approval of Application. Upon approval by MMAC, the applicant receives notification in the mail. 
  3. Pay for the Manufacture of the Signage. SPCR will notify the foundry/fabricator that casts the marker/sign and provide it with the final board-approved text. The foundry will bill the sponsoring organization directly upon shipment of the marker to the appropriate SPCR office for installation. Also, in certain situations, the sponsor may be responsible for covering the expenses associated with installing a sign.
  4. Transfer Ownership to the State of Wyoming. A Memorandum of Agreement with the State of Wyoming, the monument/marker proponent, private landowner (if applicable), and the Wyoming Office of the Attorney General must be created. The Memorandum of Agreement will transfer ownership of the marker to the State of Wyoming. Long term maintenance costs, repair costs, and/or replacement costs are the responsibility of the marker proponent. Please see Transfer of Ownership Form. The State Parks, Historic Sites and Trails Office will draft the Memorandum of Agreement. If you have any questions please contact Dan Bach.
  5. Hold an Unveiling Ceremony (if desired). Scheduling of a ceremony should only be done by the sponsor after SPCR and the fabricator can confirm a realistic shipping date for the signage. SPCR also asks that it be notified of the time and date of any dedication ceremony so that one of our representatives can attend and make a few brief remarks. SPCR Commission members and MMAC members will also receive an invitation to dedication ceremonies. Usually, the department in consultation with the sponsor sends out a press release to local media announcing the ceremony.
  6. If signage is not manufactured and installed after five years of its approval by the MMAC, SPCR may choose to identify another applicant and/or sponsor or withdraw its approval of the application. Subject to the procedures outlined here, SPCR may work with a new individual or group to install the marker.

Schedule for Application and Review
Applications will be reviewed three times a year. Applications are due March 1 and September 1 of every year for consideration. This schedule is in effect for applications for new markers and new marker text only (which includes a turnout approval application). All other marker activities requiring the completion of a request or approval form will be handled by the SPHST office on a case-by-case basis.

Guidelines for Monuments and Markers Advisory Committee Selection Process
The Monuments and Markers Advisory Committee will evaluate each application according to the marker criteria outlined in section III.A and those found below. The goals of the evaluation process are to articulate a standard that exemplifies the enduring cultural and historical values represented by monuments, markers, and wayside interpretive exhibits.

  • Significance
    • Signage must accurately mark facts, persons, events, and places prominently identified with the history of the nation, state, or local region
    • Sufficiently explain why the person, event, property, or site is significant at the local, state, or national level
    • The subject being commemorated must have achieved its significance at least fifty years ago, or demonstrate extraordinary significance
  • Placement
    • Signage must be appropriately located near the subject it is marking
  • Need
    • Application must demonstrate a need for this signage
    • If this subject has been interpreted elsewhere, the statement of significance should address why more signage is necessary
  • Accuracy
    • Provide adequate documentary support
  • Text
    • Text must be well written and interesting
  • Funding
    • Adequate funding sources (either Government or Private) are necessary to ensure the required signage standards are met.
  • Miscellaneous Considerations
    • Identification of future needed interpretation





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