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Did you know that the Star-Spangled Banner manuscript was once owned by the Walters Art Museum? Or that it once traveled the entire United States by train? Or that it was used as an attraction to sell War Bonds? Francis Scott Key would never have imagined the mileage that his lyrics would accumulate, nor would he have any idea of the efforts made by generations of dedicated individuals to preserve the single sheet of paper.
The mysteries of the Star Spangled Banner manuscript, now in the collection of the Maryland Historical Society, are the topic of a lecture given by Elissa O'Loughlin, former senior paper conservator at the Walters Art Museum and the National Archives and Records Administration. Her studies of the document began in 1995, and subsequent work on the document in 2001 led to its current state-of-the-art housing and display at the MdHS. Hear a presentation of the history, travels, and preservation of this iconic document.