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Radio Chipstone: The Flag Part V

The National Museum of American History
Preserved by the Smithsonian Institute, the almost 200-year old, 30-by 34-foot flag that inspired "The Star-Spangled Banner" is displayed in a special environmentally-controlled chamber.

Radio Chipstone has examined the American flag as both an object and a symbol in its past few installments. The final piece features Kelli - an African-American woman raised in Chicago. Although she was exposed to a diverse family and friend circle mostly through her father's side, her family still held a great sense of pride for their black culture.

Both Kelli's father and stepfather served as soldiers, yet when the family received flags after they died, she felt little, if any attachment to the object. Kelli also resents being labeled as "the American" of a group while traveling abroad.

However there are two flags that strike a cord in Kelli - a flag made in 1976, and one that was made almost 200 years ago:

Material culture contributor Gianofer Fields curates the Radio Chipstone series. The project is funded by the Chipstone Foundation, a decorative arts foundation whose mission is preserving and interpreting their collection, as well as stimulating research and education in the decorative arts.

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