A Rare Historical Flag Collection in Albany, NY

The Best Flag Collection In The World!

Today, in a seemingly forgotten room on the first floor of the Capitol building of New York, a treasure of worn, tattered, and truly historic flags sits idle. A flag collection boasting over 2,000 flags dating as far back as the War of 1812. Established in 1863, The Albany Capitol Collection is not only the largest publicly held flag collection in the United States but is also the home to one of the largest collections of rare Civil War artifacts. The surreal experience of being in a room with so much history makes this destination a must-see during a visit to upstate NY.

How it came to be:

There are many influences on the creation of this collection that go back quite some time in American history. In 1862, the Bureau of Military Statistics was created to capture all historic artifacts and record notable events in New York’s history. Then, in 1863, a small museum in Saratoga Springs, NY, decided to start collecting battle flags used in the War of 1812 and early Civil War flags. It wasn’t until 1881 that the collection began to centralize and continue to grow rapidly. This growth was due to a highly publicized visit from Civil War General and President Ulysses S Grant. Now, most of the flags are on display in large, heavy oak cases on the first floor of the Capitol building.

These early influences continued to compound over the years, and the collection grew to a point that could no longer be held in one location. In 2002, a military museum opened in Saratoga, NY, and holds many more flags and artifacts dating back to the revolutionary period.

Conservation and Repair through the years:

Flag conservation and repair are difficult. Materials used to create flags inherently decay over time, creating a conflict for those preserving history’s greatest displays of unity and camaraderie. Conservation efforts include specially made wraps to give delicate flags a safe home with anti-aging acid-free tissues. The main factor in the aging of old flags is the light damage they receive being out in the open. That’s why the main conservation efforts that have stood the test of time have been documenting the flag’s history and condition while cleaning it and removing it from sensitive areas where further damage could occur.

Restoration efforts can become more extensive when talking about really old flags that have been exposed to the elements for far too long. Sometimes, a decision is mad

e not to try and make the flag look better, as it could further damage it. To some flag purists, this takes away from the idea of the original flag.

No matter what you believe, the unique history of each flag is fascinating to see and read about. Literal bullet holes and torn shreds of cotton or synthetic fibers tell a detailed story of the battles these flags fought through.

The Albany Retired War and Battle Flag Room holds many untold stories of battle groups from various wars like the Civil War and even more modern wars like the War in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s a great way to remember those who fought and served in our military.

Being headquartered in East Greenbush, NY, Gettysburg Flag Works feels lucky to live so close to such a historic place in the US and to have the ultimate flag room in our backyard! Having museums and resources like this collection reminds us of the sacrifice countless Americans have made in our history. Remembering them through the tattered flags they have left behind gives a special meaning to what we do here at Gettysburg Flag Works. We love supplying the flags of today that may someday become valued history. Whether it’s our signature American flags or a custom piece that is personal to you, we’ve got you covered! It’s what we do best, and we can’t wait to help bring your vision to life.

Questions about the best flag museum in the U.S. or any of our historic products? Contact Gettysburg Flag Works online or give us a call at 1-888-697-3524.

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