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Blue Plaque Landmark Award

The Museum of Art & History honors Historic Landmark “Blue Plaque” awards to structures of architectural or historic significance throughout Santa Cruz County. The awards highlight historic structures, educate the public, and provide visibility for successful preservation. Plaques are awarded throughout the year, with a ceremony each May during National Historic Preservation Month.

The Museum of Art & History authorizes the plaques which are paid for by the owner. The Historic Landmark Committee, comprised of museum staff and knowledgeable community volunteers, awards plaques quarterly. For each proposed plaque, a written nomination form (see below) must be submitted with documentation for review and approval by the committee. Historic Landmark designation by MAH is purely honorary and has no legal implications.

Criteria for MAH Historic Landmark Blue Plaques are:

  • Structure is located within Santa Cruz County.
  • Structure is at least 50 years old.
  • Structure is deemed to be of historic and/or architectural significance, i.e., is associated with a person, organization, business, or social/cultural event of local, state, or national significance, and/or represents an architectural style or type that is either typical or unusual in Santa Cruz County.
  • Structure reflects overall architectural integrity (not necessarily unaltered, but any significant changes should reflect either historic additions or sensitivity to the original style).
  • Structure is in reasonably good physical condition. (It need not be meticulously restored, but should be well maintained and reflect pride of ownership).
  • Adequate documentation has been provided.

And in addition:

  • Owner of the property consents to the Historic Landmark award.
  • Owner agrees to display the plaque in a location that can be seen by the public, either outdoors or in a publicly accessible indoor space.

How to Apply?

If you are interested in obtaining a blue landmark plaque, please provide us with information about your building, as follows:

  • Using the Historic Landmark Nomination Form (pdf), document the historical and/or architectural significance of your building. Local libraries (including the Museum of Art & History Library, public libraries, and the UCSC Library) and the County Recorder’s Office can help you document your building. Also available is Every Structure Tells a Story, a helpful tool available at the Museum Store. With your completed form, please attach documentation and photographs of the building.
  • Submit your completed nomination form to MAH, attn Marla Novo, with copies of all documentation, and include a photograph of your structure. The Historic Landmark Committee will review your application.
  • You will be notified of the committee’s action. If your nomination form and proposed plaque wording have been approved, we will send you a Letter of Authorization, which will enable us to order the plaque. The cost of the plaque is $200.00.

For further information, contact Marla Novo, at (831) 429-1964 ext. 7019 or email marla@santacruzmah.org.