The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House

The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House Welcome to the Flag House, home of Mary Young Pickersgill craftswoman of the Star-Spangled Banner Flag. The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House is a historic home and museum located at 844 E.
(108)

Pratt St. in Baltimore Maryland. Mrs. Pickersgill was an American patriot and a Baltimore citizen. She sewed the Star-Spangled Banner, the flag that flew over Baltimore harbor after the Battle of Baltimore and inspired a young man named Francis Scott Key to write the American national anthem in honor of her flag. Now, her home is a National Historic Landmark, open to the public five days a week.

Operating as usual

May is National Preservation Month. Efforts to preserve and restore the historic fabric of the Flag House began during t...
05/01/2021

May is National Preservation Month.

Efforts to preserve and restore the historic fabric of the Flag House began during the 1914 Star-Spangled Banner Centennial Celebration when chairpersons Arthur and Ruthella Bibbins began fundraising to purchase the open the house as a historic shrine. By 1927, the historic Flag House had been purchased with the assistance of Baltimore City, opening as a public museum in 1928. The Flag House trustees hired Arthur Perry Sewell (1900-1946) and Elizabeth Murray Sewell (1890 – 1977) as the first curators and stewards of the Flag House. Because a chemical attack had blinded Arthur during World War I, Elizabeth conducted all correspondence and Flag House operations alongside her husband and on his behalf. The couple resided in a third-floor apartment in the Flag House’s attic as late as 1940. Together they were responsible for the initial preservation of the Flag House, restoring it to its approximate 1813 appearance, using Works Project Administration workers, and even continuing preservation work during World War II. After Arthur’s sudden death in October of 1946, Elizabeth continued as curator until April 1957. She oversaw the first initiatives to expand the museum’s footprint to include the first museum and office building (1950). In 1955, the Flag House underwent a major restoration project to restore the exterior Pratt Street facade to its approximate 1793 appearance. This phase of preservation saw the removal of the storefront window installation of a steel beam support in the basement, reconfiguring of rooms to restore partition walls and doorways removed from the first floor, brick restoration on all exterior facades, and removal of the steam heat and radiator system and plumbing in the kitchen and third-floor attic.

The nails, glass, wood, and plaster below were collected during the various preservation efforts of the historic Flag House and the archeological survey conducted by the Baltimore Center for Urban Archaeology in 1998 to uncover the foundations of the nineteenth-century privy and beehive oven located directly behind the north wall of the Flag House’s kitchen.

For more #NationalPreservationMonth stories follow the National Trust for Historic Preservation @SavingPlaces, #ThisPlaceMatters & #TelltheFullAmericanStory.

A sneak peek of an upcoming addition to the Flag House's digital collection at Digital Maryland .Born, April 27, 1787, W...
04/27/2021

A sneak peek of an upcoming addition to the Flag House's digital collection at Digital Maryland .

Born, April 27, 1787, William Batchelor, Jr. served in the Maryland 51st and 27th regiments during the Battle of North Point in 1814. His service during the Battle of North Point was preceded by a career as a privateer during the War of 1812. He served alongside Captain Thomas Boyle aboard the Chasseur and Comet, taking part in many daring engagements of these vessels with British Cruisers. The happiest days of his life were those when in daily contact with danger and the foe. William Batchelor, Jr. died March 20, 1885.

Star-Spangled Banner Flag House Collection
MU1934.5.1
Gift of the subject's grandson, William N. Batchelor

Timeline Photos
04/24/2021

Timeline Photos

It's here!

Sailing the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail, PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II is visiting Historic St. Mary's City in partnership with the National Park Service, Southern Maryland Heritage Area, & Historic St. Mary's City.

The public is invited to walk out to view PRIDE II at the MARYLAND DOVE dock, Saturday, April 24 & Sunday, April 25. Access to the dock & waterfront area is FREE of charge for the weekend during regular museum operating hours.

Due to COVID protocols, PRIDE II will not be able to offer deck tours or day sails. However, there will be an educational shoreside display near the ship. The shoreside display & virtual programs were developed in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS) since PRIDE II is now the sailing ambassador for the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

9 AM – Coffee with the Captain (virtual). Join Captain Miles & Michael Kent, author of "Mulatto: The Black History of Calvert County." Grab a cup of coffee & tune into Pride of Baltimore II.

10 AM-4 PM – The public may view PRIDE II dockside & explore the shoreside display. MARYLAND DOVE will be open for tours and free of charge. General admission will apply at other Historic St. Mary's City outdoor exhibits.

11 AM - Gentleman or Traitor?
A 10-minute play based on historical events and set in the Summer of 1814, during the War of 1812. The British have landed at Benedict, Maryland and it is a hot summer, and foul play is afoot. Choices will be made. Will these choices be deemed honorable or traitorous? Come join us and help decide!

2 PM – In-person presentation at the open-air Margaret Brent Pavilion by author, Michael Kent, on his book, "Mulatto: The Black History of Calvert County."

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Noon-4 PM – The public may view PRIDE II dockside & explore the shoreside display. Parts of Historic St. Mary's City will be closed, however, MARYLAND DOVE will be open for dockside viewing.

1 PM - Gentleman or Traitor?

3 PM - Gentleman or Traitor?

04/20/2021

In honor of #NationalParkWeek & #TransformationTuesday we remember the morning of September 14, 2014, when a fleet of tall ships was assembled off Fort McHenry National Monument & Historic Shrine to recreate what might have been seen from the ramparts that same morning 200 years prior.

The fleet was coordinated from shore by Captain Jamie Trost. Some of the vessels that participated were the skipjack SIGSBEE, Kalmar Nyckel, Tall Ship Lynx, PRIDE II, ELF, LADY MARYLAND, & Schooner Sultana.

Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail Friends of Fort McHenry Sultana Education Foundation Living Classrooms Foundation: Maritime Education

Are you celebrating today's Baltimore Orioles home opener? You'll have to visit the The Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum  for...
04/08/2021

Are you celebrating today's Baltimore Orioles home opener?

You'll have to visit the The Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum for baseball memorabilia. Instead, we'd like to share some oriole-related items in the Flag House's collection.

The Order of the Oriole was a benevolent "secret" society made up of 400 members from Baltimore's prominent male population. The ribbon badge, pin, and postcard pictured here promoted the 1881 and 1882 October Oriole festival, held in celebration of the city's commerce. Parades, pageants, and musical performances supported themed festival events like "Lord Baltimore Day."

Star-Spangled Banner Flag House, Pentz Memorabilia Collection
Gifts of Miss Trisler Pentz

04/06/2021

April is #ArcheologyMonth in Maryland! In honor of that, we will highlight a few past archeology projects that are related to the #StarSpangledBanerTrail.

In 2010 and 2011, the Maryland State Highway Administration, U.S. Navy, and Maryland Historical Trust conducted archaeology surveys in the Patuxent River on a shipwreck suspected to be the remains of USS SCORPION¸ flagship of the Chesapeake Flotilla during the #Warof1812. In August 1814, the entire flotilla was scuttled to prevent capture by the British during their advance on Washington DC.

To learn more, visit: http://scorpionarchaeology.blogspot.com/ (this site includes video footage of underwater excavation) or https://www.navalhistory.org/2012/06/26/u-s-s-scorpion-artifact-vignette-surgical-scissors

Friends of Fort McHenry

[image: Archeologist Wes Hall holds a bottle recovered from the sunken vessel. photo credit: Julie Schablitsky]

04/02/2021

#onthisday April 2, 1814 - British Vice Admiral Alexander Cochrane issued a proclamation offering Americans—but intended to mean enslaved individuals—to join the British land or sea services, or to move as free settlers to British processions in North America or the West Indies.

The British understood that freedom-seeking enslaved individuals would help to weaken the American economy that was in part dependent on the labor-intensive cash crop tobacco.

About 4,000 enslaved people gained freedom through the British. Many were initially given shelter at the British base on Tangier Island. There, about 200 of the men were trained and issued arms to fight side by side with British troops as a Colonial Corps of Marines.

Learn more about this story and Tangier Island: https://www.nps.gov/places/tangier-island.htm

[image: black and white scan of a proclamation; credit: Library of Congress]

#Warof1812 #StarSpangledBannerTrail

Happy #MarylandDay ! On March 25, 1919, Carroll Mansion  opened as Baltimore's first vocational school. The ceremony inc...
03/25/2021

Happy #MarylandDay !

On March 25, 1919, Carroll Mansion opened as Baltimore's first vocational school. The ceremony included celebrating Maryland Day with the playing of "Maryland My Maryland", presentation of portraits of the four Maryland signers of the Declaration of Independence, and the viewing of relics of Mrs. Mary Young Pickersgill at the Flag House.

Founding member of the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House Association and School Commissioner Arthur Bibbins convinced the city to open the mansion to house the city's first vocational school. Trades taught at the school include printing, electrical work, machine repair, automobile maintenance, and pattern making. Workshops were built in the garden space behind the mansion, and classes were taught inside the house. The vocational school remained at the Carroll Mansion until 1928.

Star-Spangled Banner Flag House, Pentz Memorabilia Collection
Gift of Miss Trisler Pentz

Spring is here! April 1941, National Geographic Magazine publishes “Maryland Presents” about the natural resources and h...
03/20/2021

Spring is here! April 1941, National Geographic Magazine publishes “Maryland Presents” about the natural resources and history of Maryland. The article features a picture of the Flag House and ends with Sherwood Gardens in full bloom.

Star-Spangled Banner Flag House Library

Photos from Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail's post
03/19/2021

Photos from Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail's post

We hope these Irish Carrickmacross lace ladies' cuffs bring you a little luck today. Inspired by Italian applique lace s...
03/17/2021

We hope these Irish Carrickmacross lace ladies' cuffs bring you a little luck today.

Inspired by Italian applique lace seen on her honeymoon in 1816, Mrs. Grey Porter introduced the Carrickmacross method of lace-making around 1820. Carrickmacross lace experienced only limited success and recognition until 1846 and the Great Famine when a lace school was established at Path and Shirley Estates. The school taught women the lace-making technique in hopes that they could earn extra money for their families.

Carrickmacross lace is characterized by the sandwiching of three layers of muslin (top), machine-made netting (middle), and the pattern (bottom). Other distinctive features are the outlining of thread along the edge of the pattern, small round buttonhole rings called pops, and loops of thread added to the edges called twirls.

Detail of Carrickmacross lace. (a) area of net, (b) area of muslin, (c) outlining, (d) needle-run decoration, (e) bars, (f) area where both net and muslin have been cut away, (g) 'pop', (h) 'twirl'.

Star-Spangled Banner Flag House Collection, FH1962.10.5
Gift Miss Trisler Pentz

One year ago, the Flag House closed to the public for four months as the COVID-19 pandemic began to worsen. As we look b...
03/13/2021

One year ago, the Flag House closed to the public for four months as the COVID-19 pandemic began to worsen. As we look back on the last year, we’d like to share this timely object from the Flag House’s collection. Written by Dr. David M. Reese, "Observations on the Epidemic of 1819" examines the presumed causes, spread, and contagion sources of yellow fever. From Mayoral and Health Department briefings to preventative measures at the City’s wharves and areas of commerce, Dr. Reese’s account bears a striking resemblance to life 200 years later.

Thought to originate at Smith’s Wharf in Fells Point and likely caused by poor water conditions that acted as breeding grounds for mosquitos, the epidemic’s first cases were discovered on July 21 and 22, 1819, with both men dying five days after exhibiting the early symptoms of yellow fever. By October 30, almost no cases existed. Over the course of the epidemic, roughly 1,200 instances of yellow fever and 300 deaths occurred, with the virus seemingly never reaching north of Gough Street.

Observations on the Epidemic of 1819
David M. Reese, M.D.
Printed by John D. Toy, 1819
Gift of Mr. James B. McCloskey
Star-Spangled Banner Flag House Collection, Li2007.3.6

In celebration of #WomensHistoryMonth , take a look back at the past honorees of the Flag House's Mary Pickersgill Award...
03/12/2021

In celebration of #WomensHistoryMonth , take a look back at the past honorees of the Flag House's Mary Pickersgill Award for Women's Leadership in Business.

Pictured:
Sarah Hemminger, Founder, Thread (2019)
Janette Kendall, Founder, Success in Style (2017)
Dr. Carla Hayden, former CEO of Enoch Pratt Free Library & Librarian of Congress (2015)
Nicole Sherry, Groundskeeper, Baltimore Orioles (2016)

http://www.flaghouse.org/scholarship-legacy/awards

In celebration of #WomensHistoryMonth , take a look back at the past honorees of the Flag House's Mary Pickersgill Award for Women's Leadership in Business.

Pictured:
Sarah Hemminger, Founder, Thread (2019)
Janette Kendall, Founder, Success in Style (2017)
Dr. Carla Hayden, former CEO of Enoch Pratt Free Library & Librarian of Congress (2015)
Nicole Sherry, Groundskeeper, Baltimore Orioles (2016)

http://www.flaghouse.org/scholarship-legacy/awards

03/10/2021

Next up as we feature important women in the history of Fort McHenry National Monument & Historic Shrine in honor of #womenshistorymonth --Grace Wisher.

Grace was a free African American woman who was indentured as a child to the famous Star-Spangled Banner flag seamstress, Mary Pickersgill. As an African American living in the early 19th century, Grace’s story remains mostly unknown, but her role in making the flag was just as critical as those names and faces we may know more about.

Grace had been indentured as an apprentice in 1809, when she was about 10 years old, by her mother, Jenny Wisher, who was a free African American.

Economic opportunities for free African American women in Baltimore at that time were extremely limited. An apprenticeship would offer Grace the opportunity to learn skills and a trade during a time when no formal schooling for African American children existed. The percentage of child apprentices relative to the African American population in Baltimore at that time was very small, and the number of girls was even smaller.

Grace’s work would have included household chores, such as food preparation, laundry, and cleaning, and she likely performed this alongside the one enslaved person.

Grace’s performance of household chores would have enabled Mary to focus on growing her flag-making business. However, the indenture terms made Grace's experience a bit more unique. Grace would have also participated in sewing activities, including the creation of the Star-Spangled Banner flag in 1813. As Grace was 5 years into her apprenticeship at this point, Mary certainly would have drawn upon her skills to assist in such a massive undertaking.

Working on the flag alongside the Pickersgill women, including Mary’s daughter Caroline, who was about Grace's age, while sharing chores and probably quarters with the enslaved woman, Grace would have had to straddle two different worlds, navigating the social hierarchy of a mixed household, and accepting the limitations on her freedom.

Maryland law required indenture contracts to end at age sixteen. Grace likely left the Pickersgill household in 1815 when she herself turned 16. What happened to Grace after her indenture remains unknown, but what is known, is that Grace Wisher’s contribution to the creation of the Star-Spangled Banner flag deserves to be highlighted as part of its history.

Find out more about Grace's unique story here ---> https://www.nps.gov/fomc/learn/historyculture/grace-wisher.htm

#starspangledbanner #warof1812 #baltimorehistory #ushistory #charmcity #baltimorecityoffirsts #mybaltimore #baltimore #visitmaryland #militaryhistory #marylandhistory #findyourpark #nationalpark #historicplaces #starspangledbannertrail #discovercharmcity #bmorehistoric #visitbaltimore #womeninhistory #WomenInCulture #Historical

Address

844 E. Pratt St.
Baltimore, MD
21202

2 blocks from the Charm City Circulator

General information

The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House is a historic home and museum located at 844 E. Pratt St. in Baltimore Maryland. This 225 year old structure is restored to its 1813 glory. Tour the Flag House, visit the museum and spend a day with Mrs. Pickersgill and her family.

Opening Hours

Tuesday 10:00 - 16:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 16:00
Thursday 10:00 - 16:00
Friday 10:00 - 16:00
Saturday 10:00 - 16:00

Telephone

(410) 837-1793

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Our Story

Opened to the public in 1928, the historic Star-Spangled Banner Flag House and Museum preserves the 1793 structure and interprets the life of Mary Young Pickersgill a nineteenth-century female entrepreneur and craftswoman of the Star-Spangled Banner Flag that inspired the National Anthem. In 1927, the historic structure was purchased by Baltimore City with the intent to preserve the house for future generations as the birthplace of the Star-Spangled Banner flag and in 1970 it was named a National Historic Landmark. Today, the historic house and museum are open Tuesday through Saturday for public tours. Visit our website (www.flaghouse.org) or Facebook calendar for more information on upcoming programs and events.