The Washington Post

Star-Spangled Banner flag’s re-creation in the works

Lead Stitcher Katie Bopp, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Maryland Historical Society Education Director Kristin Schenning add a stitch to the Star-Spangled banner re-creation. It is a crowdsourced project made up of 200 volunteers until August 22. (Mark Beachy/Mark Beachy)
The gate

The idea that sometimes history can be tactile animates “Stitching History: Recreating the Star-Spangled Banner,” a project by the Maryland Historical Society. Volunteers are hand-sewing a re-creation of the flag seen by Francis Scott Key on that September morning, nearly 200 years ago, after the British bombardment of Baltimore’s Fort McHenry. Key’s poem based on the flag sighting became the basis for the “Star-Spangled Banner” anthem. Using similar materials, the stitchers, who began July 4, hope to have their flag all sewn up by Aug. 22 and ready to fly Sept. 12 during Baltimore’s Defenders Day.

2 Public days, Aug. 3 and Aug. 11, on which anyone, including those with no sewing experience, can go to the Maryland Historical Society’s Baltimore campus and add a stitch or two to the flag.
6 People helped craft the original Star-Spangled Banner. They were Mary Pickersgill, the local flagmaker commissioned to make the “storm” and garrison flags, along with her 13-year-old daughter, two teenage nieces, Grace Wisher (an African American indentured servant) and Pickersgill’s elderly mother, also a flagmaker.
7 Days a week, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., roughly a dozen volunteers work on the flag in the auditorium of the Maryland Historical Society.
25 Hours of British bombardment during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. A smaller 17-by -25 “storm” version of the 15 stars/15 stripes flag flew during the battle. The 30-by-42 garrison flag was raised the morning of Sept. 14, 1814, as a symbol of American resilience and pride.
200 Volunteers, quilters, costumers and textile artists are attempting to complete the flag in six weeks, the amount of time it took for the original to be completed.
210 Yards of wool bunting fabric are being used for the flag. Each stripe is 24-by-42.



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