Special Civic Projects

In addition to its extensive efforts to preserve and promote Philadelphia’s place in American history as the nation’s birthplace, Pew supports special civic projects that inspire and help educate Americans about our nation’s historical icons and leaders.

These efforts include preserving the Star-Spangled Banner, the massive flag that flew over Fort McHenry in Baltimore in 1814 and which inspired Frances Scott Key to write the song that became the United States national anthem. Since the late 1990s, Pew has been a major supporter of the campaign to preserve this historic icon, which has been endangered by time and exposure to pollution and the elements. The restoration of the Star-Spangled Banner was a central part of a major renovation of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., which re-opened in November 2008.

For more than two decades, Pew has invested in efforts to edit and publish the papers of the nation’s Founding Fathers so that Americans might better understand the principles upon which the country was built. This work reflects Pew’s founders’ belief that an informed citizenry is the bedrock of a vibrant democracy.  

Other examples of Pew’s national civic work include support for the new museum and visitor center at Gettysburg National Military Park and for a new project by noted documentary film maker Ken Burns, entitled America’s Best Idea: Our National Parks.

Pew also provided the lead grant for the international traveling exhibition, Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World, honoring the life and enduring legacy of one of our most remarkable founding fathers at the 300th anniversary of his birth.

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