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Sprucing Up An Inspirational Landmark

- Justine

The first time I visited Fort McHenry two years ago, I enjoyed it just fine. It was a school field trip, so naturally it was an educational sort of exhibit with a nice opportunity to walk around the star-shaped fort.

Fort McHenry

Now, as the bicentennial of the War of 1812 rolls around, the National Park Service is updating the site with a large new center that will accommodate more visitors and has a more exciting presentation of history. The building, which is three times larger than the old visitor’s center, has two curved walls made of brick and zinc, respectively, to represent the flag’s stripes. You can learn about the war, the Battle of Baltimore, and the creation of the national anthem in the new galleries, and while there is a new film, the ending has remained the same–the screen retracts to reveal the fort with the flag waving above it. That was definitely my favorite part, so I’m glad they kept it. It makes you feel like a part of history.

Fort McHenry
The view from the fort!

The exhibit has been considerably modernized, with touchscreen features to teach you about Francis Scott Keys’s life and his celebrated composition. There’s even a timeline that allows visitors to learn about the relevance of the anthem throughout history and to listen to different versions of it. The National Park Service certainly has put a lot of effort into renewing this historical site, so I would absolutely recommend checking it out! Click here for more information!




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