Star-Spangled Banner Flag House
844 E. Pratt St., 410/837-1793,
HOURS: Tues.–Sat. 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
COST: $7 adult, $5 child, $6 senior
This national historic site is based around the small, tidy brick home on the corner of Pratt and Albemarle Streets that was the residence of Mary Pickersgill, a flag maker and seamstress of some renown. From a receipt found in the 1930s, we know that she was paid $574.44 when she delivered two flags for Baltimore’s Fort McHenry in 1813.
The larger flag was huge indeed, measuring 30 feet by 42 feet—the same size as the large, glass flag wall that lines one side of the museum—and it was this banner, fluttering slowly above Fort McHenry during the 1814 British bombardment, that inspired Francis Scott Key to pen the song “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
The museum has some relics from the actual battle, including a fragment of the original flag (which now resides at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C), and historic exhibits including an interactive kids’ gallery, with 19th-century kid-sized costumes to wear. In the Pickersgill house, actors in period costumes portray family members and residents of the home, welcoming guests and answering questions.
The best days to visit include Flag Day (June 14) and Defender’s Day (Sept. 12), a Baltimore-specific holiday that celebrates the defeat of the land and sea British invasion in 1814.
© Geoff Brown from Moon Baltimore, 1st Edition