Named one of the nation's "Top 10 Must-See Exhibits This Summer" by USA Today.
While many Americans learned that Betsy Ross was the maker of the nation’s first flag in the 1770s, that portion of flag history continues to be debated due to lack of substantive documentation. In Maryland, during the War of 1812, flag maker Mary Pickersgill sewed the original Star-Spangled Banner in a house on the same city block as the Reginald F. Lewis Museum. Before becoming a national icon, the flag was worked on also by Grace Wisher, a young African American indentured servant in Pickersgill’s household. Wisher’s story is little known. This forthcoming exhibition from the Reginald F. Lewis Museum highlights Wisher’s contribution as it investigates the broader history and representation of the United States flag as an icon of our nation and its people.
For Whom It Stands: The Flag and the American People is a 3,200 square foot exhibition. More than 100 works of art, artifacts, documents, and photographs reflect the breadth of American experiences. A fragment of the original Star-Spangled Banner serves as a starting point to investigate the broad history and representation of the United States flag as an icon of our nation and its people. The Veteran is a mixed media work on skateboard by Rafael Colón, a self-taught Puerto Rican artist. A Tribute to New York City sculpted by Israeli-American Dalya Luttwak sits in the same show as Prayer Rug for America, by the Arab American, Helen Zughaib. Gordon Parks' American Gothic, a sobering portrait of a woman in front of the flag, with a broom in one hand, and mop in the other, is a biting riff on Grant Wood's famous work of the same name.