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Flags at the Smithsonian

In celebration of Flag Day, we've collected a variety of flags from all around the Smithsonian to explore and learn about.

Can you help us spread the word by re-pinning? The Star-Spangled Banner flag is competition with other Smithsonian artifacts. We want to know which is your favorite. If you love the flag, cast your vote today and ask a friend to do the same! The flag is 200 years old. After the Battle of Ft. McHenry, the flag was raised over the fort to announce the American victory over the British. #SIshowdown

There are a lot of amazing objects in the Smithsonian. But Smithsonian staff are curious: which one do YOU think is the most iconic? (Our pick: the Star-Spangled Banner!) Cast your vote here.

This flag was included in the special "gift bag," in which several exchange items were carried aboard the Apollo command module during the joint US-USSR Apollo-Soyuz Test Project mission.

United States Air Force American flag insignia

NASA presented this flag, mission patch and certificate as mementos of the first Space Shuttle Mission, STS-1, in 1981.

This flag was inside astronaut John Glenn's Friendship 7 Mercury Capsule when he became the first American to orbit Earth. The flag, apparently packed inside the spacecraft, came with Friendship 7 when it was given to the Smithsonian Institution by NASA in 1963.

The American flag is often seen in summer's patriotic celebrations. Don't forget to keep the Flag Code in mind for Flag Day this Saturday.

Should you bring your flag indoors during inclement weather? Brush up on your etiquette in time for Flag Day on June 14.

The museum removed 1.7 million stitches (a previous preservation attempt) from the Star-Spangled Banner.

Children Playing at Dockside, ca.1939-1942, William H. Johnson, tempera and pen and ink with pencil on paper, 15 3/8 x 12 3/8 in. (38.9 x 31.3 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the Harmon Foundation, 1967.59.146

Soldiers Training, ca. 1942, William H. Johnson, oil on plywood, 37 3/4 x 49 1/4 in. (95.9 x 125.1 cm.), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the Harmon Foundation, 1967.59.582

Folded Flag #2, 2001, Mimi Herbert, silk-screened formed acrylic 36 x 27 1/2 x 5 3/4 in. (91.4 x 69.9 x 14.6 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist 2002.83

American Flag Whirligig, mid 20th century, unidentified artist, painted iron and carved and painted wood 28 1/4 x 38 1/2 x 28 1/4 in. (71.8 x 97.8 x 71.8 cm.), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson 1986.65.371

Flag Holder, 19th century, unidentified artist, carved and painted wood 20 7/8 x 14 1/4 x 3 1/2 in. (53.0 x 36.2 x 8.9 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson 1986.65.80

Sled Decorated with Stars and Stripes, late 19th century, unidentified artist, painted wood with metal runners, sleigh bell, and leather strap 9 x 49 x 17 in. (22.9 x 124.5 x 43.2 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson 1986.65.88

Lift Up Thy Voice and Sing, circa 1942-1944, William H. Johnson, oil on paperboard 25 1/2 x 21 1/4 in. (64.9 x 54.0 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the Harmon Foundation 1967.59.616

Beaded Whimsy, Niagara Falls style, circa 1900, Unidentified Seneca/Iroquois Artist, glass beads on cardboard-reinforced cotton with wool and sawdust 15 7/8 x 7 x 2 3/8 in. (40.2 x 17.7 x 6.0 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson 1986.65.356

Grandad and the Kid, Kansas, 1917, unidentified photographer, photographic print with applied oil color sight 8 x 6 7/8 in. (20.2 x 17.4 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles H. Moore 2002.48.29

There were more than 15 states when the Star-Spangled Banner was made, but there are only 15 stars on the flag. More flag facts on the blog.

Inspired by the flag flying over Fort McHenry during a War of 1812 battle, Francis Scott Key wrote the national anthem. But why is it so hard to sing? Click through to find out.