GW Museum’s Political Flags Collection

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Political Flags Collection

From political campaign flags that proclaimed Abraham Lincoln’s candidacy to kerchiefs promoting William Henry Harrison, the GW Museum and The Textile Museum’s “Your Next President…” exhibition explores how presidential textiles developed in the 19th century and reveals how the themes of immigration, protectionism, reform and prosperity figured prominently in early campaigns. It also demonstrates the central role the American flag played in these efforts, from off-hand adaptations used to promote candidates and products to its singular current role as America’s most sacred emblem.Check this

Each of the 155 flags in this collection, which former GW trustee Mark Shenkman ’65 (CLAS), ’07 (Honorary) and his wife Rosalind assembled over more than two decades, tells its own story. From a 7-star Confederate 1st National Camp Flag that was part of the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House Museum’s original collection to the green-striped Ecology flag made by the Paramount Flag Company in the late 1960s, each offering in this historic auction — which Heritage curator James Ferrigan likens to overflowing with “old friends” — comes with a tome’s worth of tales.

Making a Statement: Political Flags Collection

The range of colors, star configurations and proportions of stars to stripes shows how much creative freedom existed in the design of a nation’s flag until the mid-1920s when the U.S. government adopted an official standard. Even then, small changes continued to be made – such as the addition of Alaska and Hawaii, which led to different shaded reds and blues and slightly different proportions of stars and stripes.

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