Happy 100th Flag Day!

Today marks the United States’ 100thFlag Day celebration! The day honors the 1777 resolution by the Continental Congress, making the now ubiquitous Stars and Stripes the nation’s flag. The holiday did not become official, however, until 1916.

Now, a hundred years later, let’s take a look at some other interesting flags at the Smithsonian (though not quite as notable as--you guessed it--the Star-Spangled Banner). As part of a 1965 bicentennial celebration of the birth of Smithsonian founder James Smithson, banners were designed to represent the Institution’s different bureaus. All of the flags incorporated what many might recognize from the Smithsonian’s logo today—a sun with alternating straight and wavy rays (called later “the Sun in His Splendor,” representing heat and light), adopted as the official logo in 1966. The logos in the top left-hand corner represent the individual Smithsonian museums and research centers (the dinosaur, for example, was the National Museum of Natural History’s flag!). See if you can find the flag for your favorite Smithsonian museum! 

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Flag Designed for the National Museum of History and Technology (now the National Museum of American History), RU 95, Box 66, Folder 1, Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Flag Designed for the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, RU 95, Box 66, Folder 1, Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Flag Designed for the Science Information Exchange, RU 95, Box 66, Folder 1, Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Flag Designed for the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, RU 95, Box 66, Folder 1, Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Flag Designed for the National Zoological Park, RU 95, Box 66, Folder 1, Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Flag Designed for the National Portrait Gallery, RU 95, Box 66, Folder 1, Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Flag Designed for the National Air and Space Museum, RU 95, Box 66, Folder 1, Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Flag Designed for the Kennedy Center, RU 95, Box 66, Folder 1, Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Flag Designed for the National Museum, RU 95, Box 66, Folder 1, Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Flag Designed for the National Museum of Natural History, RU 95, Box 66, Folder 1, Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Related Resources

The Story Behind the Star Spangled Banner, Smithsonian Magazine
Pointers from the Flag Code, just in time for Flag Day, O Say Can You See? blog, National Museum of American History 

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