Star-Spangled Banner Outside the Smithsonian Institution Building

ID: SIA2011-1081 or 99-1583

Creator: Unknown

Form/Genre: Photographic print

Date: 1907

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 95, Box 53, Folder: 7

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Shortly after it came to the United States National Museum, the Star-Spangled Banner was hung on the exterior of the north side of the Smithsonian Institution Building or "Castle" where the East Range is located. The flag was made during the summer of 1813 as a simple garrison flag, but after the British attacked Baltimore in 1814, it gained recognition as the "Star Spangled Banner." The flag became a valued keepsake of Major George Armistead, the commander of Baltimore's Fort McHenry, and was retained by his descendants. Eventually, the family came to believe that the Star Spangled Banner belonged in a museum as an artifact of national heritage. Armistead's grandson, Eben Appleton, made inquires and corresponded with Smithsonian Secretary Charles D. Walcott. In 1907, Appleton gave the flag on loan to the Smithsonian Institution and he converted the loan to a gift in 1912. The flag was restored by the Smithsonian Institution in 1914 and again in 1999.


  • Appleton, Eben
  • Armistead, George 1780-1818
  • Walcott, Charles D (Charles Doolittle) 1850-1927
  • Smithsonian Institution Building (Washington, D.C.)
  • Star-Spangled Banner (Flag)


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


  • This is both the cyanotype and the copy print of the cyanotype original, negative number 19703A. The original negative of 19703A was drastically altered as some point with the Smithsonian Institution Building and the partial A on the flag being whited out. See 19703A or MAH-19703A for the original.
  • "Real Star-Spangled Banner," the Washington Post, July 21, 1907, page E8, contains a cropped version of this picture that still shows a small part of the Smithsonian Institution Building behind it.

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 95, Box 53, Folder: 7

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,



Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Loans
  • United States Flag
  • Gifts
  • Flags


  • Photographic print
  • Exterior
  • Object

ID Number

SIA2011-1081 or 99-1583

Physical description

Number of Images: 2 Color: Cyanotype and Black and White; Size: 8.25w x 10.25h; Type of Image: Exterior; Object; Medium: Photographic print

Full Record

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