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Fourth Of July Kickoff Celebration: The 'Stitching History' Star Spangled Banner Project Begins!









'First Stitch' part of a festive celebration at Fort McHenry

BALTIMORE, July 2, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Beginning July 4, 2013, The Maryland Historical Society (MdHS) will be recreating the 30 x 42 foot Star-Spangled Banner flag that inspired the writing of our national anthem. The flag is an authentic reproduction of the original and will take more than 200 volunteer stitchers six weeks to complete. The July 4 start of the project will be heralded with great fanfare at Fort McHenry National Monument and Shrine in Baltimore, MD, including the 'first stitch' sewn by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake . Thousands of people are expected to attend this event.

Beginning at 11:40 am on July 4, the Fort McHenry Fife and Drum Corps will lead a procession around the Fort. The Star Spangled Banner materials will be unfurled, along with two other replica United States flags. The 'first stitch' will be added, with the event culminating with canon fire and great celebration.

After the first stitch, the general public is invited to witness The Maryland Historical Society's team of expert volunteer stitchers as they get underway recreating the flag in the Fort McHenry Education Center between 12:30 pm and 4 pm.

Why Begin at Fort McHenry?

In 1813, Major George Armistead, Commander of Fort McHenry, commissioned Mary Pickersgill to create the original Star Spangled Banner. It flew over the Fort and remained intact during the Battle of Baltimore, inspiring Francis Scott Key to write the Star Spangled Banner poem.

The finished flag will be flown at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine on Defender's Day.  In 2014, it will be transported to the Smithsonian's American History Museum, where the original Star Spangled Banner is on display.

The Story Behind The 'Stitching History' Project:

The idea to recreate the Star Spangled Banner originated with The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House. Inspired by this idea, The Maryland Historical Society has worked hard to make it come to life. The project entails recreating the Star Spangled banner using authentic materials and the same stitching techniques that Mary Pickersgill used 200 years ago. The Maryland Historical Society will finish the flag in the same timeframe – just 6 weeks – that Pickersgill did.

On Saturday, August 3 and Sunday, August 11 from noon until 3 p.m. the general public is invited to come and add a stitch to the flag. During these days, MdHS will host the Fort McHenry Fife and Drum Corps, celebrity guest appearances, actors in period costume, exhibit tables from friends and partners, and mobile food vendors outside of the Museum. To register for the public days, visit www.mdhs.org/events.

"This is the ultimate participatory event," says President Burt Kummerow. "It will be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Visitors will be able to participate in the creation of an artifact that will become part of the nation's proud history."

Related Collaborations

MdHS is proudly partnering with The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House, Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, the Maryland 1812 Bicentennial Commission, Star Spangled 200 and the National Park Service Star-Spangled Banner Trail.

A Kickstarter campaign to fund the project and cost of reproduction fabric and sewing materials has begun. Pledges can be made at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/880336493/stitching-history-recreating-the-star-spangled-ban

The Maryland Historical Society is deeply grateful to the many funders who have made this project possible, including the War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission, Star Spangled Banner 200 Inc., The Star-Spangled Banner Trail, and F.W. Haxel & Co.

For more information, contact Marketing Director Laura Rodini at 410-685-3750 Ext. 322 or lrodini@mdhs.org.



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