Improving Preservation & Access to the UAMN Flag Collection
Museums Alaska Collections Management Fund (2022)
Thanks to a $14,972 grant from Museums Alaska, supported by Rasmuson Foundation, the Ethnology & History department undertook a comprehensive rehousing and stabilization project on the 55-piece flag collection held by the department.
The entire flag collection was inventoried, examined, vacuumed using a Nilfisk HEPA filter vacuum with suction control and small brushes, photographed, measured, labeled, and rehoused onto an acid free cardboard tube covered with acid free tissue, and tied with cotton twill tape. Each flag received a printed photograph tag with catalog number and barcode, for easy identification. The rolled tube was then placed on a hanging bar inside a cabinet in the compact mobile storage unit in the collections range, or, if very large or very small flags, they were left flat or folded, and placed on a new shelf or drawer. Research was conducted to update the catalog records in Arctos with further information.
Thanks to this project, we now have a clearer picture of the collection’s holdings and a resource for future researchers. We have improved the care and management of these textiles, providing improved access to the flag collection and transparency to the collection and our collections care practices.
The project budget covered the purchase of archival materials, a special Nilfisk HEPA filter vacuum with suction control, and salary for staff to implement the project.
Highlights from the Flag Collection
United States 46-Star Flag
This is our largest flag, measuring 15 ft x 21.5 ft. It is handmade with 46 stars. "Mrs. J. F. Anderson - Skagway" is written on the edge. Rope runs through the border of the flag for hanging.
This is our smallest flag, measuring 11 cm x 4.5 cm, including the stick. It has 25 stars.
United States 49-Star Flag
This 8-foot wide x 2-foot tall flag was handmade by Alaskan women - each did a star. The flag was gifted to Senator Perkins of California who worked on getting the bill for statehood passed; it failed at that time. At his death it was given to a friend, who presented it to the Boy Scout Commissioner, who displayed it in the main window of the largest drygoods store in San Francisco, and at The White House at an election. The flag was presented to the University of Alaska President in 1961.
Northern Navigation Company Flag
In 1901, Alaska Commercial Company divided into the Northern Navication Company and the Northern Commercial Company.
Alaska Transportation Company Flag
The Alaska Transportation Company was a shipping company founded in 1898 and closed in 1948.
This yellow flag with red lion in the center has "Casey's Northern Hotel" on it. Casey’s Northern Hotel was likely owned by John Casey McDannel.
United States 47-Star Flag
A 47-star flag is one of the rarest U.S. flags, because they were never formally adopted. There were 47 states in the Union for only 39 days, New Mexico being admitted January 6, 1912 and Arizona being admitted February 14, 1912.
Signed Benny Benson Alaska State Flags
The collection houses three Alaska State flags signed by Benny Benson. Benny Benson was an Alaska Native best known for winning a contest in 1927, at age 14, to design the flag for the Territory of Alaska.