In case you live under a rock…here’s a bit of news you might not have known about.
Happy Flag Day! There’s a new exhibit about the Stars and Stripes at the Museum of the American Revolution
The Museum of the American Revolution has a new exhibit on the flag of the United States of America. This flag from around the 1860-1870s features 13 hand-sewn, single-appliqued stars in a broad arch above a hand-sewn federal eagle and was probably made by Sarah McFadden of New York. Photo provided by the Museum of the American Revolution.
The American flag didn’t always look the way it does today. In fact, it didn’t have an official star pattern until 1912. That left it up to interpretation from various artists, who arranged stars in all sorts of ways.
A new temporary exhibit at the Museum of the American Revolution brings forth 40 rare and historic flags to tell the story of how the star spangled banner changed over time. “A New Constellation: A Collection of Historic 13-Star Flags” is open at the Philadelphia museum from June 14 through July 21. The flags are all from the collection of antique dealer Jeff Bridgman.
The flags all feature 13 stars, an homage to the original 13 colonies. They date as far back as around the early 1800s (although it’s possible that one of the flags may go back even further). One of the most notable is a giant 5 feet 9 inches by 12 feet 4 inches flag from Gloucester, Massachusetts that dates to somewhere between 1830-1850.
There are 32 different arrangements of stars on flags in the exhibit, some flags have the stars in your traditional grid-like pattern, while others shape them into one giant star. Other flags have an eagle in the blue rectangle, guarding the stars.
The Museum of the American Revolution is also the home to the earliest known 13-star flag – George Washington’s Standard, which was used to mark his presence on the battlefield. Unfortunately, due to its fragile nature, that flag is not on display. Visitors will receive their own miniature version of it, however, for free when the come to the exhibit.
Those looking to really delve into the land of historical flags will also want to check out the museum’s core exhibit, which has two Revolutionary War-era flags.