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Rare Civil War Flags Will Be Restored with Grant From 'Save America's Treasures'
A project to restore fragile Civil War battle flags in the Minnesota Historical Society’s collection has been selected to receive funding from the Save America’s Treasures program, which is dedicated to preserving, conserving and rescuing the nation’s most significant cultural and heritage resources. Several federal partners oversee the awards to projects that reflect their own missions. The restoration of the flags, one of 40 projects focusing on structures and sites chosen to receive grants, was awarded $181,119 through the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Funding from the State of Minnesota will provide the required match to the federal Save America’s Treasures grant.
Restoration and proper display and storage of these flags, along with battle flags from the Spanish-American War, will preserve them for future generations and make them accessible to visitors to the Capitol and to historical researchers, some for the first time. The first phase of the project will include 23 flags. The conserved flags will be on display, four at a time, at the State Capitol in climate and security controlled cases with interpretive signage. They also will be available for viewing on the Society’s web site. The Save America’s Treasures grant also will allow 25 other flags to be stored in climate and security controlled cases until additional funds can be secured to undertake their conservation.
The conservation process includes mounting the flags on solid support panels made with aluminum honeycomb material similar to corrugated cardboard. When the restoration is completed they will be placed in original display cases in the 1905 Cass Gilbert-designed State Capitol specially retrofitted to be airtight and have humidity and lighting controls.
The Minnesota Historical Society preserves and makes available a wide range of artifacts and materials chronicling Minnesota history. In addition to the flags, nearly 1,000 artifacts, ranging from diaries and letters to musical instruments, edged weaponry, photographs and state archives document Minnesota’s involvement in the Civil War.
For more information visit www.mnhs.org or www.nps.gov/history/hps/treasures.
About the Minnesota Historical Society
The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849 to preserve and share Minnesota history. The Society collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing.