DOVER — A little bit of crosstown collaboration between the Air Mobility Command Museum, located at Dover Air Force Base, and the Dover Public Library, has led to a new home for a set of reproductions for a set of 10 historic United States flags.
Margie Cyr, the director of the library, said she was contacted last May by the Air Mobility Command Museum (AMCM), which was undergoing remodeling, about finding a new home where the flags could be cared for, safely displayed and viewed by the public.
To Mrs. Cyr, the spacious library seemed to be a perfect fit for the flags.
So, she took a trip across Dover and met with AMCM Deputy Director Eric Czerwinski to look at the flags.
During that initial meeting, Mrs. Cyr and staff from both the library and museum agreed that the library was a good fit for the flags.
Transporting the flags from the museum to the library proved to be challenging due to the size and age of the flags and it took several trips to get them to the library.
After the flags arrived, cleaning and preservation work was needed on the framing. The Holly Branch of the American Pen Women, who coordinate the Art Gallery on the first floor of the library, managed the cleaning and repair work.
The next challenge was to find a place to display the flags since the library’s first floor contains displays of work by local artists which are changed throughout the year.
Since the flags were going to be a permanent display the decision was made to hang them on the second floor.
“Locating the flags on the second floor also made sense because of the proximity to the library’s Dover Room, which houses books and memorabilia of Delaware and Dover history,” Mrs. Cyr said. “We have our regular history and genealogy collections in that area, too.”
The flags are hung higher on the walls than normal for safety and security reasons.
The 10 flags are reproductions of flags dating from 1776 (The Grand Union) to 1877 (The First Centennial) and represent different periods and geographic areas of the early years of the United States. Each flag is accompanied by a plaque with descriptive text that explains the flag and its history.
“When the flags were removed from the museum, the plaques were destroyed in the removal process, but the museum had preserved them in pictures,” said Mrs. Cyr. “It was really important to us that the plaques were a very close duplicate to what was in the original display.”
The Delaware Public Archives agreed to work with the library on duplicating the plaques as they had originally been hung in the museum.
Mrs. Cyr said she relished working together in coordination with the AMCM, Pen Women and Public Archives on the flag project.
“Working in partnership with these agencies and volunteers to make this project happen has been a real pleasure,” she said. “We are grateful to the staff at the Air Mobility Command Museum for appreciating the value of the historic flags and for the support of the Public Archives and the Pen Women who tied it all together.” Mrs. Cyr said.
he flags are available for viewing during all hours the library is open.