Tag Archives: Donor recognition

Designing Donor Recognition at Historic Sites

Plaque recognizing James Baxter, donor of the Portland Public Library, 1888.

Plaque recognizing James Baxter, donor of land and building of the Portland (Maine) Public Library, as well as the architect F. H. Fassett, 1888.

Major donors or supporters of a historic site are often recognized with a panel or plaque. Most traditional is a panel listing names of donors, often distinguished by the size of their gift, but it can often appear to be more like a somber memorial than a sincere and thoughtful appreciation. That’s the major reason for avoiding off-the-shelf recognition systems of wall plaques and engraved bricks, which have become so common they’ve lost their punch. For historic sites, this is especially important because they should be integrated and complementary to its design and significance, not merely plopped into place as an afterthought.

Donor recognition is typically installed near an entrance (either interior or exterior) so it can be readily seen by visitors on a wall, floor, or freestanding panel; made of durable materials that resist vandalism and years of cleaning; and can be easily corrected or updated in the future. Careful planning and consideration of alternatives will reveal methods that are most appropriate for your organization.

The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties can guide decisions about Continue reading