War of 1812

Examine collections of the Museum's key resources on major themes in American history and social studies teaching.  Additional resources can be found in the main search areas of the website.

War of 1812

September 2014 marks the bicentennial of the Battle of Baltimore, which inspired Francis Scott Key to write "The Star-Spangled Banner." Find highlights of the Museum's materials related to the War of 1812 and the Star-Spangled Banner below; a full search of 1812-related resources can be found here.

War of 1812

Grade Range: 4-12
Resource Type(s): Reference Materials
Date Posted: 10/9/2008

This website discusses the major events of the War of 1812, including the burning of Washington, and the battles of Fort McHenry and New Orleans. Students will learn from images and objects in the Museum's collections to shed light on the conflict that gave the country a new symbol, the Star-Spangled Banner, and a new hero, Andrew Jackson. This website is part of the online exhibition, The Price of Freedom: Americans at War. A non-flash version of this site is available: The War of 1812.

Blog Post: Star Spangled Women: Mary Pickersgill

Grade Range: 5-12
Resource Type(s): Reference Materials
Date Posted: 7/10/2012

In this post, students will learn the story of Mary Pickersgill, the woman who created the Star-Spangled Banner. Mary Pickersgill learned the art of flagmaking from her mother, Rebecca Young, who made a living during the Revolution sewing flags, blankets, and uniforms for George Washington’s Continental army. Rebecca lived with Mary during the time the Star-Spangled Banner was created, but since she was 73 years old at the time, we have no idea how much she was able to contribute. We do know that Mary’s daughter Caroline, her two teenage nieces Eliza and Jane, and an indentured servant named Grace Wisher did help with the onerous task of sewing the 30 × 42 foot flag. Grace was an African-American teen who had entered into a six-year indentured apprenticeship with Mary in order to learn “the art and mystery of Housework and plain sewing.” Written by Megan Smith, Education Specialist in the Department of Public Programming, this post is published on the Museum's "O Say Can You See?" blog.

Making the Star-Spangled Banner Homepage

Grade Range: K-5
Resource Type(s): Lessons & Activities, Reference Materials
Date Posted: 11/20/2008

In this activity, children will learn the story of the flag that inspired the national anthem. An OurStory module entitled Making the Star-Spangled Banner, the resource includes links to hands-on activities and a list of recommended readings. OurStory is a series of modules designed to help children and adults enjoy exploring history together through the use of objects from the Museum's vast collections, quality children's literature, and engaging hands-on activities. Ideal for afterschool use, OurStory resources will allow children to think critically, to be creative, and to achieve academic standards both in and out of the classroom.

Interactive Star-Spangled Banner

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Interactives & Media, Lessons & Activities
Date Posted: 1/6/2009

Explore features of the Star-Spangled Banner using this interactive flag included in the online exhibition entitled The Star-Spangled Banner: The Flag that Inspired the National Anthem. Using this interactive tool, students can click on hotspots and learn something new about the flag each time they click. They can also zoom in on the image of the flag in order to see incredible detail.

War of 1812 Classroom Resources - Thinkport

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Web Link
Date Posted: 4/25/2013

This searchable site from Thinkport/Maryland Public Television offers lesson plans and interactives on the War of 1812 from the National Park Service, Star-Spangled Banner Flag House, and related historic sites. 

Founding Fragments: Star-Spangled Souvenirs

Grade Range: 4-12
Resource Type(s): Interactives & Media, Primary Source
Duration: 5 Minutes
Date Posted: 2/4/2014

A short video, this one is great as a lesson opener! "Star-Spangled Souvenirs" is the first episode in the NMAH webseries "Founding Fragments." Join host Tory Altman for a behind-the-scenes look at some of our most intriguing and little-known objects.  Hear personal interviews with curators and get a glimpse into non-public spaces at the museum.  This episode focuses on the scraps of the original Star-Spangled Banner flag that have been cut off from the flag and kept as souvenirs over the 200 years since it was originally sewn.  Many pieces of the original flag have found their way to the Smithsonian, but the whereabouts of nearly 8ft of flag are still unknown.  One of many episodes available on YouTube.

By the Dawn's Early Light: The Story of the Star-Spangled Banner

Author: Steven Kroll
Reading Level: Early Elementary School
Genre: Non Fiction

Historic illustrated story of Francis Scott Key's creation of what would become the U.S. National Anthem.

The Flag Maker

Author: Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Reading Level: Early Elementary School
Genre: Fiction

This is a story of the Star-Spangled Banner through the eyes of young Caroline Pickersgill, the daughter of an important flag maker, Mary...

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