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The APS Historic Sites Initiative was created by the APS Executive Board in October 2004 with the following mission:
"The purpose of the Historic Sites initiative is to raise public awareness of physics. Unexpected encounters with an attractive plaque that identifies an important and interesting event in the history of physics will be an effective way of getting physics before the general public. The initiative will also benefit physicists by increasing their own awareness of important past scientific advances, hence of their membership in the historic evolution of their profession."
In pursuit of this mission, the Society has established the Historic Sites selection committee to evaluate potential historic physics sites in the United States. When a site is chosen, a ceremony is arranged at which a plaque is presented, often by a member of the APS presidential line (the vice-president, president-elect, president, and past president).