Banner Moments: The National Anthem in American Life

Banner Moments Exhibit Banner Moments Exhibit
The new Ford Presidential Library lobby exhibit, curated by University of Michigan musicologist Mark Clague, illustrates through interpretive panels, historical documents and photographs, the cultural 200-year history of “The Star-Spangled Banner” (1814–2014). The tale that emerges demonstrates the power of music and poetry to spark the social imagination and thus create a sense of shared community.

Inspired by the successful defense of Baltimore, Maryland from British attack in September 1814, lawyer and amateur poet Francis Scott Key penned his now famous lyric. Rather than extraordinary, Key’s creative impulse was typical of early America’s broadside ballad tradition in which new words were written to fit well known tunes. The result, however, was far from everyday—Key could not have predicted that his song would survive the moment, yet become his nation’s singular anthem.

Follow the “The Star-Spangled Banner” from the moments leading up to September 14, 1814 through the present day and explore the social history of our national song.
March 2017 to September 2017

Monday - Friday. 8:45 am - 4:45 pm
Closed all Federal holidays.
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When and Where

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March 2017

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April 2017

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June 2017

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