Historic Marker Research Package

All of your sources and the content packet will be submitted on our Historic Markers Omeka site. This is 30% of the final grade for the class. 

Log in to the Historic Markers Omeka site here. Your username is the part of your GMU email address that includes your first initial and last name. For example, Dr. Fahringer’s username is afahring, and her GMU email address is afahring [at] gmu [dot] edu. If you are unable to login, contact Dr. Fahringer.

Step 1: Select a topic or identify an existing historic marker

Using the Virginia Department of Historic Resources Historical Highway Marker’s database, or another approved site, select a historic marker you think needs revision and updating OR choose a historical topic, building, person, or site that you think should be memorialized in a historic marker. Describe why you chose the marker you did OR why you think your topic should have a historic marker. What stood out to you? Why do you find this subject interesting as a scholar?  

Step 2: Analyze your topic or historic marker 

Analyze your selected topic or historic marker. If revising an existing marker, consider the following questions: When was the marker created, and by whom? Who was the marker created for—who was the primary audience? What trends were prevalent in the historical profession at that time that might have influenced the original research and writing of the marker? What part of the story is missing from the narrative?  

Step 3: Find evidence  

Locate primary sources to use to research a more comprehensive and holistic narrative of your topic or the historic marker. Local historical societies, the Library of Virginia, Virginia newspapers, and the databases available via George Mason University Libraries will be particularly helpful. While you will primarily rely on primary sources to analyze your topic or revise the historic marker, you will also need to be fluent in the secondary literature on your selected topic. Add your primary and secondary sources as items to the Omeka site.

Step 4: Create a content packet  

Create a content packet for your topic or historic marker as an exhibit in Omeka. In real-world scenarios, historians are consulted for their expertise in the discipline and for creating factually accurate chronicles of historical events. Include the following elements in your Omeka exhibit:

  1. The text of the original marker, if applicable.  
  2. The evidence—both primary and secondary sources—you consulted. Your sources must be listed in a bibliography adhering to the rules set out by the Chicago Manual of Style.  
  3. Your audience. Identify who the primary and secondary audiences are for your historic marker. (~300 words) 
  4. A storymap or a timeline to tell the narrative of your historic marker. You can use any of the following tools or softwares:  
    1. TimelineJS 
    2. StorymapJS 
    3. ArcGIS StoryMaps 
  5. Full draft of proposed text or full draft of revised text if you are revising an existing historic marker. (1,000 words minimum) 
  6. Statement of significance. Consider the following questions: Why is this important? Why do people need to know this? What are the most important aspects of this story? (400 words minimum)