Landmark Nomination Process

Nomination Process Overview

Prospective ACS Landmarks must be nominated by an ACS local section, division or committee; reviewed against the NHCL criteria by the National Historic Chemical Landmarks Subcommittee (NHCL Subcommittee); and approved by the ACS Board Committee on Public Affairs and Public Relations (PA&PR), which acts on behalf of the ACS Board of Directors.

To symbolize the designation of a Landmark, ACS presents an historical marker to the host organization and publishes a commemorative booklet and webpage as a record of the achievement. Local sponsors, in cooperation with the NHCL Program Manager, organize a ceremony to commemorate the designation. Generally three designations are performed each year.

Criteria for a Landmark Designation

Landmark achievements may be discoveries, bodies of work, resources, advances or artifacts, but they are not limited to these categories. In order to be eligible for recognition by the NHCL program, the following qualities must all be present:

  • Landmarks must represent a seminal achievement in the history of the chemical sciences in the United States.
  • Landmarks must evidence a significant contribution and benefit to society and the chemical profession in the United States.
  • Landmarks must have occurred at least 25 years ago.
  • The significance of Landmark subjects must be readily communicable to the general public.

Nomination Process

The NHCL nomination process is a collaborative process that involves the ACS nominator(s), host organization(s), NHCL Program Manager and NHCL Subcommittee.

The process starts with the submission of an NHCL Nomination Form to the NHCL Program Manager. The form requests a description of the subject’s historical significance, its contributions to the chemical profession and broader society in the United States; identification of historical dates, locations and contributors; and information about the proposed designation activities.

The nomination should be produced using research from reliable sources, and key sources should be provided. Nominations must include letters of support from the ACS nominating body and the proposed host organization; nominations may be accompanied by letters of support from subject matter experts. Nominations for designations at multiple sites are encouraged when appropriate.

When writing a nomination, keep in mind the following tips:

  • Organize the nomination around a clear and specific claim about the subject.
  • Avoid generalizations, overly broad claims, or claims not supported by evidence.
  • Avoid technical descriptions that may be incomprehensible to general audiences, unless they are accompanied with a plainspoken explanation.
  • Perhaps most importantly, keep in mind that NHCL status is bestowed for achievements themselves, not for the person or location where the work was conducted. While this information is important to the story of any Landmark, nominators are encouraged to focus on the impact of the science itself as the core of the nomination.

Completed forms should be submitted to the NHCL Program Manager for review by the NHCL Subcommittee at their next available meeting. Incomplete forms may be submitted for feedback from the NHCL Subcommittee, however only complete nominations will be considered for advancing.

Following review of any nomination, the Subcommittee may:

  • Recommend against pursuit of a subject or decline the nomination;
  • Request clarification, information or reframing of the subject; or
  • Recommend the nomination for approval by PA&PR.

Following their review, the NHCL Program Manager will respond with the NHCL Subcommittee’s decision. In most cases upon first review of the nomination, the NHCL Subcommittee will request that the nominator provide specific, additional information about the subject. It is typical for nominations to come before the NHCL Subcommittee 2 to 3 times before a final decision is made.

All nominations recommended by the NHCL Subcommittee are subject to approval by the ACS Board Standing Committee on Public Affairs and Public Relations. Recommendation of a subject by the NHCL Subcommittee does not assure that the nomination will be approved by PA&PR.

Following review by PA&PR, the NHCL Program Manager will respond to nominators with a final decision. If the nomination is approved by PA&PR, then scheduling and designation planning may commence.

Nomination Resources:

Download: ACS National Historic Chemical Landmark Nomination Form

Special Procedures for International and Local Subjects

The National Historic Chemical Landmarks program recognizes U.S. subjects with a significant impact on the chemical sciences nationwide.

For international subjects with an impact on chemistry in the United States, please review the International Historic Chemical Landmark procedures.

For subjects based in the United States with a local or regional impact on chemistry, please review the Local Section Historic Chemical Landmark procedures.

Note on Timing

The program recommends between one and two full years between initial submission of a nomination and notification of approval, if received.

The NHCL Subcommittee typically meets in May and October, and nominations will be due approximately one month in advance of the meeting date. For specific deadlines, please contact the NHCL Program Manager.

If the nomination is approved by the NHCL Subcommittee and PA&PR, then the program recommends an additional 6-12 months for designation planning.