Museums & Galleries — June 22, 2012 at 7:49 am

National Gallery of Art – June 15, 2012 – Jan. 27, 2013 (1812: A Nation Emerges)

1812: A Nation Emerges
June 15, 2012, through Jan. 27, 2013

Happy Flag Day! Ever wonder where America’s national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” came from? In 1814, 35-year-old Francis Scott Key watched in awe as Fort McHenry in Baltimore was bombed by the British–a noteworthy episode in the War of 1812.

Learn more about the War of 1812 at the National Portrait Gallery’s new exhibition opening tomorrow!

In January of 1815, the news swept the country—Andrew Jackson and his ragtag army of militia, pirates and slaves had defeated the greatest army in the world.

Jackson’s defeat of the British army at the Battle of New Orleans, the last major battle of the War of 1812, once and for all confirmed the United States as an independent nation. It instilled a sense of American victory that established some of the greatest icons and stories of our history, from the Star-Spangled Banner and Uncle Sam to Dolley Madison saving George Washington’s portrait from the White House.

A new major exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, “1812: A Nation Emerges” will commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812 with a visual history of the conflict and the world in which it took place, encompassing the war on a grand scale with nine sections and 100 pieces.

From the American invasion of Canada, to the victories of the USS Constitution, the defense of Fort McHenry, and Henry Clay’s War Hawks in Congress, “1812: A Nation Emerges” tells the story of the war through the lives of extraordinary individuals, with portraits by some of America’s best artists. This exhibition will also include objects, such as a dress that belonged to Dolley Madison, a large-scale model of the Constitution, the Treaty of Ghent that ended the war, a 17-star flag from the American privateer Blockade and a sculpture of the Shawnee leader Tecumseh.

Throughout the United States, Great Britain and Canada, these pieces—from respected institutions and private homes—and the stories they tell have been preserved for two hundred years and are brought together for the first time in this one-of-a-kind exhibition.

“1812: A Nation Emerges” will be on view June 15, 2012, through January 27, 2013, and accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue published by Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press.

The “1812: A Nation Emerges” book and exhibition are made possible by the generous support of HISTORY® and TD Bank Group.

Additional support provided by Mr. and Mrs. Peter L. Malkin; the Abraham and Virginia Weiss Charitable Trust, Amy and Marc Meadows; Jack and Beth Watson; CN; and Thomas R. Pickering.
Gift in kind provided by Ben Zaricor.

Audiovisual components courtesy of HISTORY®.