Raising the flag

If you have been following the renovation at the National Museum of American History, you know that one of the visual centerpieces of our new central atrium will be the large abstract flag that marks the entrance to the Star-Spangled Banner gallery. I’m pleased to announce that we have achieved another milestone towards our reopening by raising the flag’s frame onto the gallery wall.

Previous posts on this blog have featured the undulating frame that will support hundreds of reflective tiles—the architects call them “pixels”—to create the effect of waving stripes, and a large star—a giant prong—that attaches the entire frame to the wall. After assembling all the pieces on the floor, skilled riggers carefully lifted the frame into place and attached it to the marble wall. I watched the “flag raising” on a long Saturday afternoon and it was a privilege to see the care and skill of the team.

Even in its partly-finished state, one gets the sense of how striking this feature will be. The photos below show the frame as it’s being lifted, as well as a rendering showing the final effect.

  Frame-lg Render-lg

Other parts of the museum are a beehive of activity as well, as construction areas are finished and cleaned, protected artifacts are uncovered, and exhibitions are installed. Behind the scenes, others are busy putting the final touches on a host of new public programs and visitor services. Like any major project, there are bumps in the road. But we are fortunate to have an amazing staff with boundless creativity and abundant energy. Thanks to their efforts, our visitors will explore and experience history in a truly memorable new setting.


Brent D. Glass is Director of the National Museum of American History