On the Town: Tampa Bay History Center looks at history of U.S. flag

By Kim Leoffler, Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, March 13, 2018, 4:37 PM EDT

The American flag has changed as our country has grown. The Tampa Bay History Center wants visitors to learn all about those changes in their new “American Flag: The Stars and Stripes in American History and Culture” exhibit.

  • Flags dating back to 18th Century on display
  • Exhibit available until July 29
  • For more information on exhibit, visit tampabayhistorycenter.org

"It really wasn't until 1960 or so that there was a standardized American flag, if you will, with the 50 stars and 13 stripes. Prior to that the flag did evolve, and every time a new state was added a star was added," Manny Leto with the History Center explained.

Several of the flags on display are original. One of the earliest ones dates back to the 1790s!

All of the flags were collected by one man who has now loaned them out to museums to help people learn about the country's history.

Some of the flags were only in use for a very short period of time, like the one made right after Florida joined the Union, quickly replaced a year later.

There's also some unique versions of the flag created by different political parties over the years.

You can even check out some cool ways the flag was depicted in popular culture, like in Andy Warhol’s iconic “Moonwalk” print created shortly before his death.

"I think it is very dramatic to come in and see the flag in these different kind of variations or incarnations, but also the photographs that accompany the exhibit, the way that the flag is portrayed in photography, used for different aspects of military service, it really is quite a dramatic show," Leto explained.

If you want to take a walk through our country's history, the exhibit will be on display until July 29. For more information, visit the History Center's website at tampabayhistorycenter.org.