The plain blue standard with 13 white, six-pointed stars travelled with
This month, conservators finished preserving the fragile and faded silk banner — but it won't be seen publicly anytime soon. It's one of thousands of objects waiting for a permanent home at the
Saturday marks the Colonial-era date when lawmakers approved a flag design using 13 five-pointed stars on a blue field surrounded by 13 red and white stripes. It's credited to seamstress
Washington's flag first passed through the hands of his sister,
The standard measures about two feet by three feet, and was likely carried on a pole by a member of the cavalry before being planted wherever Washington made camp, Stephenson said.
Dye and fabric analysis indicate the delicate textile dates back to the late 18th century, said
"It's got so much meaning behind it, and its fragility just directs you to want to take care of it," Whelan said.
The flag eventually will join other historical objects like swords, pistols, canteens and documents to help tell the story of the War of Independence. Incidentally, the museum's marquee exhibit is a much larger piece of fabric related to Washington: the tent that served as his wartime home and command centre.
Historians hope the flag's display might generate more leads on its use and significance, said
"You never know when another piece of evidence will turn up," Schoelwer said. "Even after 200 years of research on this material, there are still exciting discoveries to be made."
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