Conservation of the Peace Flag from the Mary Baker Eddy Library got off to a quick start, here at Museum Textile Services. As our previous blog mentioned, we were able to transport the flag to our studios just before the string of winter storms. The first treatment, as always, was surface cleaning the flag to remove airborne pollutants. Although the flag was sealed in its case for 80 years, the gasket had deteriorated, allowing soot, dust, and other air pollutants to permeate the flag.
The next difficult decision we faced was whether to exhibit the flag with the same side outward, or to show the original colors preserved on the reverse. We considered two factors went into the decision to continue to show the same side: First is the congressional report entitled, "The United States Flag: Federal Law Relating to Display and Associated Questions," updated in 2008. Section 7.i states that, "When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union [star field] should be uppermost and to the flag’s own right, that is, to the observer’s left." Equally importantly, there was no guarantee that the back of the flag would not fade sometime in the future, and if that were to happen, no evidence would remain of its original vibrancy.
Stay tuned for the next installment to see how dyeing of the new ivory border went, and learn how we plan to make the central flag strong enough for another century of display.