Flag House Scholar Award & Essay Contest 2020
The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House in Baltimore Maryland is a National Historic Landmark and the historic home of Mary Pickersgill, the craftswoman of the Star-Spangled Banner Flag that flew over Ft.McHenry during the War of 1812 and inspired Francis Scott Key's words to the National Anthem.

This year on Flag Day, Sunday, June 14th, 2020 the Flag House will award the eighth annual Flag House Scholar Award and a scholarship in the amount of $1,812.00 to a Maryland high school senior to put toward the college of his/her choice. The winner will be chosen by a panel of judges as a result of an essay submission.


1. Essay must be no more than 350 words.

2. Essay must be submitted through this form- please do not e-mail or mail your essay.

3. Essay must answer the question posed.

4. Winner must be a Maryland high school senior and able to travel to Baltimore to read their essay aloud at the Flag House on June 14, 2020.

5. The scholarship will only be paid directly to the winner's college of choice.

Submissions will be accepted until 4:00 p.m. Friday, March 27, 2020.


Museums and historic houses have traditionally told the stories of the well-known history-makers such as George Washington's Mt. Vernon or famous artists exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. However, museums and historic houses are increasingly developing research and exhibits that champion underrepresented groups. The historically significant actions of the working class, minorities, immigrants, and enslaved persons previously overlooked by mainstream narratives in American history are finally being shared. This is true of Mary Pickersgill and her household of craftswomen. At the Flag House, we work to preserve Mary's legacy as a woman ahead of her time, business owner and advocate for the women of Baltimore, and as the maker of the Star-Spangled Banner. Although Mary and her team created the flag that inspired the national anthem, her story is frequently overshadowed by that of Francis Scott Key and the Battle of Baltimore.

The eighth Flag House Scholar Award will celebrate the historical contributions of unsung heroes from the past and present. Do you know of an unsung history-maker in your community? Is there an organization in your community working to keep the legacy of a historically significant, but often overlooked, individual alive and relevant? Identify a person living or from the past whose professional work, activism, or personal story has made a significant impact on you or your community. Describe why their story is unique and explain how they have changed the course of history.

Further reading and resources to help you brainstorm are linked below.

- Diversity in Museums https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-museums-diverse-work

- Baltimore Museum of Art Diversifies Artists https://www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/arts/bs-fe-bma-sells-artworks-20180413-story.html

- Sites of Conscience

Please formulate a thoughtful and creative answer and feel free to reference additional information.


Working with primary sources:

Effective Writing:

Essays will be graded using the six (6) traits of a strong essay:
1. Ideas
2. Organization
3. Word Choice
4. Sentence Fluency
5. Voice
6. Conventions

Privacy Policy: The information you provide when submitting your essay is for internal office use only and will be used simply to contact the scholar selected to receive the award. Your information will not be used for advertising or solicitation purposes.
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