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On a wet September thirteen, 1814, British warships despatched a downpour of shells and rockets onto Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor, relentlessly pounding the American castle for 25 hours. The bombardment, called the Battle of Baltimore 10th gen society banner
, got here most effective weeks after the British had attacked Washington, D.C., burning the Capitol, the Treasury and the President’s house. It became any other bankruptcy withinside the ongoing War of 1812.
A week in advance, Francis Scott Key, a 35-yr-vintage American lawyer, had boarded the flagship of the British fleet at the Chesapeake Bay in hopes of persuading the British to launch a chum who had lately been arrested. Key’s methods have been successful, however due to the fact he and his partners had received expertise of the approaching assault on Baltimore, the British did now no longer allow them to go. They allowed the Americans to go back to their very own vessel however persisted guarding them. Under their scrutiny, Key watched on September thirteen because the barrage of Fort McHenry started out 8 miles away.
“It appeared as aleven though mom earth had opened and became vomiting shot and shell in a sheet of hearthplace and brimstone, 10th gen society banner
” Key wrote later. But whilst darkness arrived, Key noticed most effective crimson erupting withinside the night time sky. Given the size of the assault, he became sure the British might win. The hours exceeded slowly, however withinside the clearing smoke of “the dawn’s early light” on September 14, he noticed the American flag—now no longer the British Union Jack—flying over the castle, pronouncing an American victory.
Key placed his mind on paper even as nevertheless on board the ship, putting his phrases to the music of a famous English song. His brother-in-law, commander of a armed forces at Fort McHenry, examine Key’s paintings and had it allotted below the name “Defence of Fort M’Henry.” The Baltimore Patriot newspaper quickly published it, and inside weeks, Key’s poem, now called “The Star-Spangled Banner,” regarded in print throughout the country, immortalizing his phrases—and all the time naming the flag it celebrated.
Nearly centuries later, the flag that stimulated Key nevertheless survives, aleven though fragile and worn via way of means of the years 10th gen society banner
. To keep this American icon, professionals on the National Museum of American History lately finished an 8-yr conservation remedy with budget from Polo Ralph Lauren, The Pew Charitable Trusts and the U.S. Congress. And whilst the museum reopens in summer time season 2008, the Star-Spangled Banner can be its centerpiece, displayed in its very own latest gallery.
“The Star-Spangled Banner is a image of American records that ranks with the Statue of Liberty and the Charters of Freedom,” says Brent D. Glass, the museum’s director. “The reality that it’s been entrusted to the National Museum of American History is an honor.”
Started in 1996, the Star-Spangled Banner maintenance project—which incorporates the flag’s
conservation and the advent of its new show withinside the renovated museum—became deliberate with the assist of historians, conservators, curators, engineers and natural scientists. With the development of the conservation lab finished in 1999, conservators started out their paintings. Over the subsequent numerous years, they clipped 1.7 million stitches from the flag to eliminate a linen backing that were brought in 1914, lifted particles from the flag the usage of dry beauty sponges and brushed it with an acetone-water aggregate to eliminate soils embedded in fibers. Finally, they brought a sheer polyester backing to assist guide the flag.
“Our intention became to extend [the flag’s] usable lifetime,” says Suzanne Thomassen-Krauss, the conservator for the project. The reason became by no means to make the flag appearance because it did whilst it first flew over Fort McHenry, she says. “We did not need to alternate any of the records written at the artifact via way of means of stains and soil. Those marks inform the flag’s story.”
While the conservators labored, the general public regarded on. Over the years, greater than 12 million humans peered into the museum’s glass conservation lab, looking the progress.
“The Star-Spangled Banner resonates with humans in exclusive ways, for exclusive reasons,” says Kathleen Kendrick, curator for the Star-Spangled Banner maintenance project. “It’s thrilling to realise that you are looking on the very equal flag that Francis Scott Key noticed on that September morning in 1814. But the Star-Spangled Banner is greater than an artifact—it is also a country wide image. It conjures up effective feelings and thoughts approximately what it method to be an American.”
Smithsonian photographers created this composite picture
of the Star-Spangled Banner in 2004 from seventy three separate photographs. The flag’s big size (30-via way of means of-34 ft) averted photographers from taking pictures it in a single picture even as conservators labored on it withinside the specially-constructed conservation lab. Courtesy of the National Museum of American History
The Flag’s Beginnings
The Star-Spangled Banner’s records begins offevolved now no longer with Francis Scott Key
, however a yr in advance with Maj. George Armistead, the commander of Fort McHenry. Knowing that his castle became a possible British target, Armistead advised the commander of Baltimore defenses in July 1813 that he wished a flag—a massive one.
“We, sir, are prepared at Fort McHenry to protect Baltimore in opposition to invading via way of means of the enemy…besides that we haven’t any appropriate ensign to show over the Star Fort, and it’s miles my choice to have a flag so big that the British will haven’t any problem in seeing it from a distance.”
Armistead quickly employed a 29-yr-vintage widow and expert flagmaker, Mary Young Pickersgill of Baltimore, Maryland, to make a garrison flag measuring 30 via way of means of forty two ft with 15 stars and 15 stripes (every famous person and stripe representing a state). A big flag, however one commonplace for the time. Over the subsequent six weeks, Mary, her daughter, 3 of Mary’s nieces, a thirteen-yr-vintage indentured servant and probably eel2 Mary’s mom Rebecca Young