Exhibition | Flags and Founding Documents

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on July 4, 2021

13-star flag featuring a ‘Great Star’ pattern, ca. 1800–25, one of the earliest American flags known to survive
(Jeff Bridgman, American Antiques)

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Now on view at the Museum of the American Revolution:

Flags and Founding Documents, 1776–Today
Museum of the American Revolution, Philadelphia, 11 June — 6 September 2021

The summer exhibition Flags and Founding Documents, 1776–Today showcases dozens of rare American flags alongside historic early state constitutions and the first printing of the proposed U.S. Constitution of 1787.

The flags—many of which have never been exhibited before—trace the evolution of the Stars and Stripes through the addition and subtraction of stars as new states joined the Union and the nation battled through the Civil War. The flags serve as a visual narrative of America’s national story. The flags are showcased alongside historic documents including early printings of more than 16 different state constitutions and the Choctaw Nation Constitution of 1838 to shed light on the triumphs and tensions that the United States faced as it expanded and worked toward creating a ‘more perfect Union’. By telling stories from the nation’s revolutionary roots to its continuing struggle over equal rights, Flags and Founding Documents, 1776–Today encourages visitors to consider their role in the ongoing effort to fulfill the promise of the American Revolution.

The collection of historic flags is on loan from Jeff R. Bridgman, a leading dealer of antique flags and political textiles. The documents are on loan from the Dorothy Tapper Goldman Foundation following their presentation at the New-York Historical Society in the exhibition Colonists, Citizens, Constitutions: Creating the American Republic (February 2020 — Mary 2021), curated by Dr. James F. Hrdlicka.

James Hrdlicka, with Robert McD. Parker and a foreword by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Colonists, Citizens, Constitutions: Creating the American Republic (London: Scala Arts Publishers, 2020), 208 pages, ISBN: ‎978-1785512070, $45.

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