Celebrating the flag

Brad Nading
With the Finney County Historical Museum reopening, a new timely Front Door Gallery exhibit on the American flag titled "Significant American Flags in Local History" is on display for today's Flag Day and the approaching Fourth of July holiday.

With its re-opening, an exhibit of historic American flags is on display at the Finney County Historical Museum with the Fourth of July holiday approaching and today, June 14, being Flag Day.

The exhibit, titled “Significant American Flags in Local History”, is located in the museum’s Front Door Gallery and features six U.S. flags. Some of the flags are reproductions and some are from the museum’s artifact collection, spanning 243 years.

“The display begins with a representation of the first American flag, created according to legend by Elizabeth Griscom – better known to most of us today as Betsy Ross,” Steve Quakenbush, the museum’s executive director, said. “You’ll also see versions of the Stars and Stripes in use at the time of the Louisiana Purchase, Kansas statehood, Garden City and Finney County’s founding, World War II and the community’s 125th birthday in 2004.”

There is also information in the exhibit tracing the 128-year evolution of the Pledge of Allegiance and how the initiation of the American Civil War made homesteading possible in what would later become Finney County.

There is also an American flag that was flown over Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor last year.

The Front Door Gallery is a small display space, located inside the museum’s main entrance, where exhibits are changed frequently through the year. The flag exhibit will continue through mid-summer.

The museum, which re-opened to the public on June 8 after the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, is located at 403 S. Fourth Street in Garden City’s Finnup Park. Admission is free and summer exhibit hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.

Kansas became a state on Jan. 29, 1861, but an American flag with 34 stars to include Kansas was not adopted until July 4, 1861.