Philadelphia may pride themselves on being home to Betsy Ross, but Baltimore has their own flag maker. Baltimore native Mary Pickersgill’s flag not only flew over Fort McHenry in one of the most important battles in the War of 1812, but her 15 stars and 15 stripe creation inspired the penning of our National Anthem.
Little Italy is the proud home of The Star Spangled Banner House and Museum. In the early days of the War of 1812, General George Armistead asked Ms. Pickersgill, a master military flag maker, to create a flag so large that the British could see it flying high when they approached the Fort up the Chesapeake Bay. Ms. Pickersgill, along with her family, started sewing in their tiny row house, built in 1793. The flag became so large that she later had to finish in the basement of the neighboring brewery. Today, the home-turned-museum grants a unique look into how such the large and iconic flag, 30 by 42 feet, was no easy feat in such a small home.
Although the actual flag hangs in preservation at the Smithsonian in Washington DC, there’s a lot to explore throughout the Flag House. When entering the Pickersgill home, visitors meet Mary and her family in an interactive experience as they make their way through the family heirlooms that fill the rooms, transporting visitors back in time. In the museum next door, visitors are treated to a theater experience and galleries with even more history about Baltimore in the War of 1812. Make sure to check out Ms. Pickersgill’s built-to-scale “American flag window” in the courtyard between the two museums that displays a replica of the historic flag.Source: flaghouse.org