Call for Entries! National Museum of American History and USA Weekend Magazine Partner for National Anthem YouTube Singing Conte

Winner to perform at the museum and the Baltimore Orioles game on Flag Day, June 14

  • The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History has partnered with USA WEEKEND Magazine to launch the national Star-Spangled Banner YouTube Singing Contest.
  • Fifteen (15) semi-finalists will be selected by April 17 according to overall appeal of vocal performance, originality, lyrical accuracy and popularity on YouTube. All semi-finalists will receive a signed copy of the book “The Star Spangled Banner: The Making of an American Icon,” and their videos will be featured on the museum’s Star-Spangled Banner Web site.
  • The top video will be chosen by a panel of celebrities, a representative from the Orioles and Smithsonian judges and announced on May 19. The winner will be invited to perform the national anthem at the museum and at the Baltimore Orioles versus Atlanta Braves game in Baltimore on Flag Day, June 14.
  • USA WEEKEND will provide the winner with a trip for two to Washington, D.C., including airfare, hotel accommodation for two nights, tickets and transportation to the game and $400 spending money.
  • Entries may be submitted from Feb. 15 to April 13, 2009. For contest rules, sample videos, lyrics and to enter, participants should visit the Star-Spangled Banner YouTube Singing Contest Web site.
  • Participants and others can follow the contest via Twitter: (@amhistorymuseum).
  • The contest kicks off “Star-Spangled Summer” celebrating the grand reopening of the National Museum of American History during America’s patriotic holiday season with a focus on the flag that inspired the national anthem.
  • The National Museum of American History is located at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W., and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Check or for general Smithsonian information, call (202) 633-1000; (202) 633-5285 (TTY).


  • Brent D. Glass, director, National Museum of American History said: “The Star-Spangled Banner is one of our nation’s most treasured objects, a symbol of what this country stands for.” “We thought that this singing contest would be a fun way to dispel the notion that history is boring and engage people with the story of their flag and national anthem.”
  • Matthew MacArthur, director of New Media at the National Museum of American History said: "The notion of inviting the public to participate with us on YouTube fits well with the idea that the Star-Spangled Banner belongs to everyone. We're excited to be the first at the Smithsonian to reach out in this new way."



Get a SING badge that can be displayed on your Web site or blog.


National Museum of American History, Star-Spangled Banner Singing Contest, NMAH, singing contest, YouTube, YouTube contest, you tube contest, national anthem, star-spangled banner, SSB, American flag, visitor contributed content, user contributed content, Smithsonian Institution, SI SSB, patriotic, history, USA WEEKEND.


This example video gives an idea of what the judges are looking for:

Example Entry by Xavier Carnegie


About the Star-Spangled Banner

The 15-star, 15-stripe garrison flag, known as the Star-Spangled Banner, was made in 1813 by Mary Pickersgill as commissioned by Lt. Col. George Armistead to fly over Fort McHenry. This flag was flown Sept. 13 and 14, 1814 during the War of 1812 in the Battle of Baltimore. It was replaced with a smaller storm flag during the rainy battle night. On the morning of Sept. 14 the banner was hoisted again to the tune of “Yankee Doodle” signaling the retreat of the British. “By the dawn’s early light,” lawyer Francis Scott Key, who was anxiously awaiting the outcome of the battle on an American ship, saw the flag flying over the fort and was inspired to write the patriotic and defiant words of a poem that became a rallying cry for Americans who had fought their first war as a united nation. The song became the national anthem in 1931.

The flag has recently undergone an extensive conservation treatment at the National Museum of American History and now has a new state-of-the-art home. The new Star-Spangled Banner Gallery lies at the heart of the museum in a special enclosure protecting the fragile wool and cotton flag while providing maximum visibility to visitors. The exhibition explores the flag as a family keepsake in the 19th century, the Smithsonian Institution’s efforts to preserve the artifact since 1907, and how Americans have used the Star-Spangled Banner—both the flag and the song—to express diverse ideas of patriotism and national identity.

About the National Museum of American History

The National Museum of American History collects, preserves and displays American heritage in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific and military history. The museum sheds new light on American history after having been dramatically transformed by a two-year renovation. To learn more about the museum, visit For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000, (202) 633-5285 (TTY).
Media only:Valeska Hilbig
(202) 633-3129  

Melinda Machado
(202) 633-3129