Open Plaques is 'the museum of the street' established 2009.
It is a community-based project which catalogues, curates, and promotes commemorative plaques and historical markers (often blue and round) installed on buildings and landmarks throughout the world.
The service brings the history that plaques encapsulate to life - and to a larger audience - by building the definitive and most comprehensive resource about these historical markers. The data and resources generated by the project are free to use under a Public Domain declaration. We aim for wide distribution and re-use.
As well as showing where they are, we identify who is commemorated on them, what those people are notable for, and what their connection is with the place where their plaque is installed. We uncover this data through a process of painstaking research by our team of volunteer co-curators (if you spot a mistake, tell us).
We've gathered the data from many organisations which have established and maintain plaque schemes globally. As the plaques by their very nature are public information, we are keen for more organisations
to share their data so it can be included, forming a complete database and a unified map of the plaques' locations. Please get in touch
if you'd like your plaques to be included.
You can get regular updates and stories about the project on our blog
or leave a comment there.
How can you add plaques and photos?
Individuals can add plaque listings and information
directly to the site, and add photos to the listings via Flickr, Geograph, Wikimedia Commons, or by emailing
them to us. Follow a "Your photo. How to add it" link on any plaque for more details.
The service and the data are in constant development. If you know of any plaques not listed in our database (try searching
the site first), we love to hear about them, or better still make your mark and add them to the website
What kind of plaques can be contributed?
A plaque is a sign that connects people or events to a specific location sometime in the past. We also feature plaques that commemorate notable buildings due to their historic nature or the architect who designed them.
The purpose of collecting the plaques is to uncover the direct history of places. General plaques not denoting anything specific from history, and also memorial plaques to people or events that have no connection to the immediate
vicinity of the plaque fall outside our remit. Plaques erected primarily to denote the opening of buildings and businesses or awards given to buildings are also beyond the scope of the service, as are ones solely noting a burial site or grave.
If you are unsure if a plaque meets the criteria of Open Plaques just email us
the text of the plaque inscription or a copy of any photo you have, or send us a link to the photo if you have already published it online, and we'll let you know.
RSA Catalyst Fund support
In 2010 Open Plaques received a Catalyst Fund
seed funding grant from the RSA
to run an event which would further the development of our website as an open source community that supports education and learning purposes. The Open Plaques Open Day which followed was generously hosted at the Centre for Creative Collaboration
in London on 25th September 2010.
Projects using Open Plaques data
Email us if you've used the data, even if just for an unpublished hack, we love to hear about your successes.
We are always happy to chat about plaques and have been featured in
How to get a new plaque put up
We get a number of enquiries about getting a plaque put up. We don't create any ourselves (yet) but are the worldwide register for plaques.
Anyone can erect a plaque as long as they have the building owner's permission, it isn't a listed building, and are prepared to pay for it to be made. Check your local area to see whether the local council or civic society has an active plaque program and approach them with your nomination. Alternatively, there may be a national society that might be interested. Or you can go it alone. Many people have.
We have a short list of suppliers that we can recommend if you contact us. If you do go ahead please say that we sent you as one day we might want to make one ourselves.