Landmarks Frequently Asked Questions

Pursuing a landmark designation is challenging and immensely rewarding. From the guidelines and criteria, you can determine the likelihood of identifying a potential candidate for landmarking. Some frequently asked questions:

Nominations may be submitted by any ASME member with the support of a sponsoring unit (section or technical community of ASME). Using the nomination form provided, nominators should submit the appropriate material at least one month prior to the next History and Heritage Committee meeting. (To progress through the nomination stage, approval and then planning a ceremony involves considerable support by the sponsoring unit and considerable networking among various officers and participants. Nominators are encouraged to bring as many of these participants on board as early as possible.)

To accept a nominated landmark (or "work") for recognition, the History and Heritage Committee reviews the nomination and must conclude that landmarking the work is an appropriate action for ASME. The Committee members' experience and knowledge of the work play a role in this deliberation, but the content of the nomination documentation is the primary and most important source that the Committee uses. (See Criteria.)

To reach its conclusion, the Committee seeks affirmative answers to several questions. It is critical that the nomination addresses the issues posed by the questions not by number, but within the content of the nomination, in such a way that the Committee will find the information that it needs for the review.

No. The ASME designation does not have the force of law that a National Register designation has. Therefore, an owner is free to alter or demolish the landmark. ASME hopes, however, that this recognition will encourage the preservation of these examples of our industrial heritage. If a landmark is destroyed or undergoes major alterations, its plaque must be returned to ASME.

ASME History and Heritage writes the wording and has the foundry set the plaque, which is then given as a gift to the landmark owner, with the understanding that it will be displayed on or near the designated item. This is usually arranged through the sponsoring ASME unit.

ASME plaques provide information on the significance of the artifact, site or collection, noting pertinent dates and people involved. Presentation of the plaque in a ceremony, held by the sponsoring ASME unit, marks the formal designation and its addition to the ASME Landmarks roster.

In some cases where the landmark has been destroyed or altered, owners have taken special measures to preserve a record of it or near the site (open to the public). In these cases, the ASME plaque has remained. An example is the Shipping port Atomic Power Station near Pittsburgh. Although the reactor was decommissioned and removed, a small museum was built at the site, containing the ASME plaque and other plaques, a model of the reactor, and general information.

Landmarks require that the sponsoring unit prepare and publish a commemorative brochure that meets with program approval. These brochures become significant documentation for the membership, researchers, students, and the public in understanding mechanical engineering achievements and important mechanical engineers. Once a nomination is approved, brochure planning should be initiated since it often takes the longest advance time of any element prior to the ceremony.

Here's some advice by others who have succeeded:

  • Keep on TOP: Teamwork, Outreach and Persistence. Check out this example to see why less complexity in the plans means more in terms of participation. You will need help and there are many people to consider. The experience of the Kinne Collection designation can be seen from the brochure acknowledgments.
  • Working with companies or large organizations in general has its own challenges in terms of recognizing history. There's more to discuss than the value of history for history's sake.