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Collections, Archives & Archaeology

Save the Flags Campaign

Funds raised by the Save the Flags Campaign will conserve the Ohio Battle Flag Collection. The goals of the campaign are to:

  • Use new conservation techniques to save the flags from further deterioration
  • Make the flags available again for research and examination
  • Provide for possible exhibit, under suitable conditions for preservation

Treatment will involve removing the earlier PVA treatment and mounting the fragile flags in new supports. A conservator's examination revealed that the cost of conserving a flag will be between $6,000 and $30,000 for a Civil War silk battle flag depending on the condition and size of the flag.

Donate to Save the Battleflags


The Society will oversee the conservation treatment and provide administrative support for this program, but is not in the financial position to fund the conservation treatments. Private funding will ensure the Society's ability to save individual flags or the conservation effort in general.

Battle Flag General Conservation Fund
There are two different ways you can help the Society conserve the Ohio Battle Flag Collection. The first is to donate to the Battle Flag General Conservation Fund. The Ohio Historical Society is ranking Ohio's battle flags for conservation based on a variety of criteria, such as historical significance and level of deterioration. A donation to the Battle Flag General Conservation Fund will be used to conserve the prioritized flags.

Adopt a Flag
The second way you can help the Society conserve Ohio's battle flags is by adopting an individual flag. To adopt a flag, a minimum donation of $1,000 is required to place the flag on the priority conservation list. Flag adopters are then encouraged to raise or procure additional funds to conserve their adopted flag. The Ohio Historical Society can provide guidance and assistance with your fundraising efforts. To discuss adopting a flag, please contact the Ohio Historical Society's Office of Institutional Advancement at 614.297.2320 or 800.647.6921.


The Ohio Battle Flag Collection

The Ohio Battle Flag Collection was photographed before preservation in the 1960s. These prints, plus slides showing an artist's rendition of each flag as it appeared originally, are available for viewing online. Fight for the Colors provides access to images of and information about Ohio battle flags. You also may order copies of photographs or slides by calling the Society's Photo Duplication Office at 614.297.2543.

The flags were gathered in the late nineteenth century at the Ohio Statehouse and exhibited there, first in the Flag Room, then in the Rotunda. In the mid-1960s, most of the flags were conserved under the direction of a Flag Preservation Committee and the National Guard. The technique involved adhering a flag to fine nylon fabric with a plastic-like substance (polyvinyl alcohol or PVA) in order to provide stability and support for the flag. About half of the flags were mounted for hanging, while the rest either were not treated or were treated and furled around flag poles.

The Society exhibited the hanging and furled flags for public viewing until 1988. Over time, however, the PVA became brittle and the nylon fabric supports began to curl and fray. Due to concern about their condition, the flags were removed to the Society's storage facility, where they are protected from dust, light and handling while they await new conservation treatment.




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