Visitors view the Star-Spangled Banner

The first stanza of the national anthem is projected prominently on the wall above the Star-Spangled Banner.

 

A special enclosure, with a 35-foot floor-to-ceiling glass wall, protects the fragile wool and cotton flag while providing maximum visibility to visitors. The chamber's lighting, mechanical, security and fire prevention systems, as well as the table upon which the flag rests and the gantry (movable bridge) that museum staff will use to inspect the flag, are designed to work together to ensure long-term protection of the flag. The room has separate environmental systems maintaining a constant temperature of 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit and relative humidity of 50 percent.

 

The 30-foot by 34-foot banner is displayed at a horizontal orientation and, in order to reduce stress to the textile, at a 10-degree angle of elevation. Low light levels protect the flag, yet are dramatic enough to evoke an atmosphere of the "dawn's early light," similar to what Francis Scott Key experienced Sept. 14, 1814, when he wrote his famous lyrics.

 

Visit the online exhibition.

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Uploaded on May 10, 2010