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Stitching History: Recreating the Star-Spangled Banner
The Maryland Historical Society is looking for volunteers to help us recreate the 30 x 42 foot Star Spangled Banner flag!
We will sew the flag during the same six week time period that Mary Pickersgill did 200 years ago.
Our flag will then be flown at Fort McHenry during the Defenders Day celebration!
Be a part of Bicentennial History! Put your stitches in the flag!
We are recreating the 30 x 42 foot flag that was commissioned for Fort McHenry in the summer of 1813. Mary Pickersgill, a local flag maker, worked with her daughter Caroline, nieces Eliza and Margaret Young, and African American indentured servant Grace Wisher to complete the flag in six weeks. It is our goal to recreate the flag during the same time period 200 years later.
The original flag was made from English wool bunting, a loosely woven, light-weight material common in flag-making before the advent of nylon. We are having this fabric recreated for us by Family Heirloom Weavers in Red Lion, PA.
Team Leaders and Stitchers
Each person will be responsible for a specific amount of sewing depending how many people volunteer. Team Leaders will participate in a special sewing workshop to learn the specific stitches used historically and other construction techniques. We are trying to be as authentic as possible in the construction of the flag.
The team leaders will schedule time at the museum to be available to other stitchers to learn the sewing techniques.
Stitchers can meet each week for the six weeks of the project, come in two or three times, or come in and complete their assigned amount all in one sitting. The sewing will be done at the MdHS main campus at 201 West Monument Street, Baltimore, Maryland. There is free parking on-site.
Even though we will not start sewing the flag until July 4 – everyone who volunteers to be part of the project is invited to participate in our 3 field trips to Fort McHenry, the Flag House Museum, and the Maryland Historical Society. You will see the place that inspired the writing of our national anthem, the house where Mary Pickersgill created the flag, and Francis Scott Key’s original hand written manuscript! These field trips are to learn about the flag, our national anthem, and to get inspiration!
Sharing With the Public
MdHS is recruiting experienced sewers to construct the majority of the flag, however, we want to share the experience with the general public. To do this we will have two public sewing days, where anyone can come in and put a stitch or two in the flag. These two days will be Saturday, August 3 and Sunday August 11 from noon till 3 each day. We will need teams to be available to supervise these amateur stitchers.
When the flag is completed, it will be flown on Defender’s Day, the anniversary of the Battle of Baltimore, Saturday, September 14 at Fort McHenry. It will also be used for school programs and other public events in the Bicentennial year of the writing of the national anthem and the defense of the city of Baltimore.
Everyone who puts a stitch in the flag will have their name recorded as a participant in the project and each of our teams will receive a special memento for their participation.
Interested in Volunteering?
To sign up Email: email@example.com or Phone: 410-685-3750 x 350
Please provide your name, mailing address, email address, phone number, guild
membership (if applicable), and indicate if you would consider being a team leader.
This project is sponsored by the Maryland Bicentennial Commission and the Star Spangled Banner Trail.