Art Works Blog

Old Glory, in All Its Glory

On September 14, 1814, by the dawn's early light, Francis Scott Key watched as the American flag was raised over Fort McHenry, a signal that American troops had defeated the British during the War of 1812's Battle of Baltimore—a major upset. Key set his patriotic sentiments down on paper, words which every American has come to know by heart. To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the "Star-Spangled Banner," the National Museum of American History has organized the Raise It Up! initiative, which hopes to set a new record on Flag Day tomorrow for the largest ever group sing of the national anthem. To join in on the star-spangled spirit, here are a few versions of Old Glory that you might spot this summer as you visit Blue Star Museums across the country. 

Oil painting of family

Bang by Kerry James Marshall courtesy of The Progressive Art Collection

Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture
(Baltimore, Maryland)

The painting above appears in the museum's For Whom It Stands exhibit, which uses 100 objects, documents, and artworks to explore the role of the stars and stripes in American culture. 

13 star flag

13 Star Flag from the collection of the Edmond Historical Society and Museum

Edmond Historical Society and Museum 
(Edmond, Oklahoma)

This 13 stars on this historic flag are sewn in a 3-2-3-2-3 pattern, also called the Frances Hopkinson pattern. Hopkinson, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, is debated to have designed the first version of the American flag, using the layout shown here. The flag can be seen at the Edmond Historical Society and Museum's Raise It Up! exhibit, which closes tomorrow.

Abstract American flag installation

Abstract Flag installation at the National Museum of American History. Photo by flickr user Adam Fagen

National Museum of American History 
(Washington, DC)

Hanging at the entrance of the museum's Star-Spangled Banner Gallery, Abstract Flag is made up of 960 pieces of mirrored polycarbonate, and looms large at 40-by-19 feet.

American flag quilt

Flag quilt, United States, 1861. Textiles; quilts. Pieced, appliquéd, and quilted cotton. 91 1/4 x 81 1/2 in. Gift of Paul Bogart (M.90.107)

Los Angeles County Museum of Art
(Los Angeles, California)

American flags are a common theme for quilters, especially during periods of patriotism, such as war, or national celebration or tragedy. The quilt shown above was made at the outset of the Civil War.

Glass beaded American flag

Nations by Jenny Ann "Chapoose" Taylor (Uintah Band). Glass beads, leather, nylon, thread. 2002. Photo by flickr user Adam Fagen 

National Museum of the American Indian
(Washington, DC)

If you look closely at the flag above, which is made with 130,000 glass beads, you might be able to see quotes from Native and non-Native authors, as well as the names of 456 tribes.

Historic Wisconsin Infantry Flag

Wisconsin Veterans Museum
(Madison, Wisconsin)

The flag above represented the 15th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment, also known as the Scandinavian Regiment. The regiment joined General Sherman's army in Tennessee on May 5, 1864, just before Union troops pushed Confederate General Joseph Johnston's men out of state and back down to Georgia.



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