Stars, Stripes and the Unsung Woman Who Sewed Them in Baltimore

Mary Young Pickersgill’s legacy lives on in the house where she made the national anthem-inspiring Star-Spangled Banner

July 1, 2018
This article appeared on the Houzz website on Sunday, July 1, 2018

June 2018 News from the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House

Join the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House and the Baltimore Office of Immigration for a very special Flag Day program and Naturalization Ceremony.

The Flag House will be open to the public for FREE from 10 AM – 4 PM.
Tours of the historic house will pause during the ceremony from 12 PM to 1 PM.

At 1 PM join us in the Flag House Theater for historian Robert Dudley’s popular talk, “Sam Smith: When Destiny Calls!”




Outdoor Festival
Sunday, June 24th, 12 pm to 4 pm

Celebrate Baltimore’s oldest neighborhood with the third annual Jonestown festival. Our community’s cultural institutions and businesses come together once again to celebrate our shared heritage with an afternoon of magic and delightful experiences, from stilt-walkers to arts-and-crafts,
face painters to animal encounters.

At 1:00 pm behold a daring live escape by the one and only
Dai Andrews – performed while dangling from a crane!

This magical afternoon will feature the National Aquarium, the Star Spangled Banner Flag House, the Jewish Museum of Maryland, Port Discovery and many more! And don’t forget about the door prizes – the festival is free but you’ll have to register for your chance to win.

Entertainment includes:

Big Whimsy Stilt Walkers: Look a Giant in the eye, give a high five and have your picture taken with one of the “higher-ups” at the show. Nina and Joffrey delight and amuse as they stroll the grounds. With a magic balloon pouch, they can make you a sculpture, a hat, or even a dog out of thin air!

Illya Interactive Circus: a hands-on experience! Hoop, Juggle, Tumble, Spin, and Cavort with Illya and her circus toys. Face painting will be available in between circus play times!

Dai Andrews: a Baltimore-based entertainer, Dai has been practicing magic since the age of five. He has traveled the world seeking hidden knowledge and forgotten arts, studying with yogis and martial artists, magicians, and fakirs to learn and perfect their arts in order to bring his audience a
performance of strange feats and unusual abilities.

Looking for more info? Check out our Festival FAQs!

BMI Farmers’ Market
Stop by the Flag House’s activity table on
Saturday, June 30 for patriotic crafts.

The BMI Farmers’ Market Runs
Saturdays, May 19-November 24, 2018*
9:00am to 1:00pm

Join us on Saturday, May 19 as we kick off our 10th annual market season!

The BMI Farmers’ Market is a great way to spend your Saturday morning. Purchase fresh produce, local meat and eggs, oven-fresh bread and sweets, bright flowers, tasty ready-to-eat treats, artisan items, and more. Family-friendly activities offered throughout the season, as well as a changing schedule of live music and community-interest vendors. The market offers easy access to pedestrians and cyclists, as well as plenty of free on-site parking. Picnic tables are available, inviting visitors to relax by the harbor and visit with friends and neighbors.

*The market will not be held on October 20, during the Baltimore Running Festival. Check out the 2018 vendors here.

Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and museums across America.  Each summer since 2010, Blue Star Museums have offered free admission to the nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and Reserve, from Memorial Day through Labor Day. See the map below or select from the list of states for museums that are participants of Blue Star Museums in 2018.

  • Admission is free to active duty military and their families from                                                  Saturday, May 26 – Saturday, September 1
  • The Flag House is one of more than 2,000 participating organizations.
  • Find a full list here: 2018 Blue Star Museums


Star-Spangled Banner Flag House Receives Core Documents Verification from the American Alliance of Museums

Baltimore, Maryland November 7, 2017 – The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House has passed the American Alliance of Museums’ Core Documents Verification, and important milestone in its ongoing efforts to demonstrate excellence and meet standards and best practices.

Earning Core Documents Verification means the national professional organization for the museum industry has verified – through a thorough expert review- that the museum has an educational mission; and ethics, planning, emergency, and collections stewardship policies in place that reflect standard practices of professional museums. These elements were evaluated because they are deemed essential for every institution that identifies itself as a professional member of the museum field.

Of the nation’s 35,000 plus museums about 1,100 have passed the Core Documents Verification. The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House is one of 25 museums in Maryland to have done so.

One reason we undertook this outside review was to show our public that the museum has in place the policies and plans that are essential to good museum management and which provide our staff and governing authority the structure, ethical grounding, and accountability needed to make informed and consistent decisions for the good our public and in support of our mission and sustainability.

“We couldn’t be more excited to receive Core Documents Verification. This is one of many major milestones we’ve achieved in the past three years as we pursue American Alliance of Museums accreditation and validates the tremendous effort put in by staff and the governing body,” said Amanda Shores Davis, Executive Director.  “I hope our success can be a model for other small museums of what can be accomplished when resources seem limited but, you remain dedicated to your mission and strategic plan.”

The American Alliance of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. With more than 15,000 individual, 3,000 institutional, and 300 corporate members, the Alliance is dedicated to ensuring that museums remain a vital part of the American landscape, connecting people with the greatest achievements of the human experience, past, present, and future. For more information, visit

On the Maryland Humanities Council Blog

The Flag House was featured on the Maryland Humanities Council blog on May 25th. Preview the post below or follow the links below to see the full article or listen to the History Corner podcast version of the story that aired on June 7 on WYPR.

You have probably passed the three-story brick house standing at the corner of Baltimore’s Pratt and Albemarle Streets numerous times on your way east along Pratt Street or walking toward the Inner Harbor. Walking by, you may have missed the bronze plaque designating the building as a National Historic Landmark, and you might not have realized that this more than 200-year-old building is the birthplace of the most famous American flag to ever fly. Read the rest.

To listen to the podcast click HERE.


2017 Mary Pickersgill Award for Women’s Leadership in Business

On Friday, March 24, 2017 the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House awarded the fifth annual Mary Pickersgill Award for Women’s Leadership in Business to Jeannette Kendall, founder and director of Success in Style.

Success In Style (SIS), is a non-profit that helps disadvantaged men and women find employment by providing them with interview attire.  She is a Fashion Institute of Technology trained fashion designer with experience in the NY garment industry.  Her former business, Elegance in Style took her to venues around the country teaching women to be expert consumers of fashion: considering professional needs, color, body type and personal style – an early version of “What Not to Wear”.  She realized that the women who needed her services most could not afford the seminar and so she turned her focus to begin a non-profit to serve the women in her community.  Fifteen years later, SIS has six studios for serving disadvantaged clients (now men and women) in the Baltimore-Washington corridor and four upscale resale boutiques that provide 95% of the funding for the organization–all run solely by an army of dedicated volunteers.  In 2014, Jeannette was recognized by her local Chamber of Commerce as Entrepreneur of the Year for her ability to turn straw into gold for the benefit of the community.  The business model for SIS sells donated items, not used for interview attire, to pay operating expenses and purchase needed items.  The family of stores includes a beautiful resale bridal salon, Cherie Amour.

1964 Star-Spangled Banner Replica Flag Collection Now Online

The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House is happy to announce that the latest capsule collection, Star-Spangled Banner Flag Replica Collectioncan now be viewed in its entirety via Digital Maryland’s website. The Star-Spangled Banner Flag Replica Collection provides a history of the work that went into creating this replica of the flag that was flown over Fort McHenry after its bombardment on September 14, 1814 during the Battle of Baltimore. The flag replica, started in 1963 and completed in 1964 under the auspices of the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House, was destined for display at the Maryland pavilion of the New York World’s Fair of 1964-1965. The collection contains both letters leading to the production of the hand-sewn flag replica as well as an American Legion participant’s scrapbook of the work done on the flag replica, including lists of names of participants, photographs, newspaper clippings, and its displays away from the Fair. Click the image below to be taken to the collection home page. 

2017 Scholar Award & Essay Contest is LIVE!

2017 Flag House Scholarship Award 

The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House in Baltimore Maryland is a National Historic Landmark and the historic home of Mary Pickersgill, the woman who sewed the Star-Spangled Banner. The Star-Spangled Banner is the giant American flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to pen our national anthem when it flew at Ft. McHenry during the War of 1812.

This year on Flag Day, Wednesday, June 14th, 2017 the Flag House will award the fifth annual Flag 2017-flier-webHouse Scholar Award and a scholarship in the amount of $1,812.00 (generously donated by the National Chapters of the United States Daughters of the War of 1812) to a high school senior to put toward the college of his/her choice. The winner will be chosen by a panel of judges as a result of an essay submission.


1. Essay must be no more than 300 words.
2. Essay must be submitted through this form- please do not e-mail or mail your essay.
3. Essay must answer the question posed.
4. Winner must be a high school senior and able to travel to Baltimore to read his/her essay aloud at the Flag House on June 14, 2017.

Submissions will be accepted until 4:00 p.m. Friday, March 17, 2017.

To see this year’s question, helpful links, and to submit your essay visit: 2017 Essay Contest

Congratulations to Carla D. Hayden!

Carla D. Hayden, winner of 2015 Mary Pickersgill Award for Women’s Leadership in Business and CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library since 1993, will become the first woman and the first African-American to oversee the nation’s largest library as head of the Library of Congress. Hayden was nominated by President Barack Obama in February and was confirmed by the Senate on a 7418 vote.

“She moved the Enoch Pratt into the digital age,” said Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat. “She’s a transformational leader.”

Read more at the Baltimore Sun.