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Courtesy photo.




Markers mapped
Chart your course through NH history

04/21/16
By Ryan Lessard news@hippopress.com



 A new and improved website now enables users to locate New Hampshire’s highway historical markers on an interactive map with photos and a mobile-friendly format.

“People love discovering the history of New Hampshire on those green and white signs we all see along the roadways,” Elizabeth Muzzey, the director of the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources, said. “But the [previous] website wasn’t very useful besides sitting at home or in your office at a desk to read about the markers.”
Muzzey said they retooled the information into something called a “story map” using Geographic Information Systems software.
“Story maps combine maps … along with text, images, other multimedia information, in order to create a more comprehensive experience,” Muzzey said. 
Plus, basic location information was missing from the earlier website.
“You weren’t able to know where the markers were that well before. We were missing that mapping element,” Muzzey said.
And the new site works well with smartphones so people can use the site when they’re out and about, either hunting for historical markers or looking up one they drove by earlier but didn’t have the opportunity to read.
The map is broken down into seven geographic regions of the state: Merrimack Valley, Seacoast, Monadnock, Lakes, Mount Washington, Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee and Great North Woods.
Each region can be selected by clicking on tabs at the top of the screen.
After a region is selected, the map zooms in and a series of photos of historical markers appear at the bottom that one can scroll through. Highlight one and a larger photo pops up so you can easily read the description.
The markers are sorted by marker number, which indicates the order of when they were installed.
There are currently 244 historical markers, and Muzzey says they add between four and six new markers each year.
“Hopefully, we will have 249 markers up soon,” Muzzey said.
The new site will likely appeal to tourists or history buffs who like to visit each one.
“I’ve heard that groups like bicycle clubs and motorcycle clubs approach historical highway markers in some cases like hikers approach 4,000-footers. They try to bag every marker or try to take a picture in front of every marker. That type of thing,” Muzzey said.
The new site is part of a larger effort to digitize 40 years’ worth of records on historical properties and the GIS mapping technology will be used for other map sites in the future.
And Muzzey says there’s still room for improving the historical marker map.
“Something that intrigues me personally would be to look at the 200-odd markers thematically and pick out themes that bind their way through all those markers and we could hopefully create driving tours or promote someone else’s driving or bicycling tours, motorcycling tours that someone with a particular interest could follow that theme throughout the state,” Muzzey said.
Some markers don’t yet have photographs. She encourages members of the public to submit any photos they have of historical markers to preservation@dcr.nh.gov. The website is at nh.gov/nhdhr/markers. 





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