Art museum installs rainbow flag for 40th anniversary of its creation

Gay pride flag a symbol of social impact that goes back 4 decades

Justin Udo
June 25, 2018 - 12:25 pm
People take part in the 2018 Toronto Pride Parade

Xinhua/Sipa USA

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Artist Gilbert Baker considered himself the "gay Betsy Ross," according to Michelle Millar Fisher.

In 1978, Baker hand-dyed and stitched the two original eight-striped rainbow flags — the six-striped version is the primary usage today — for the Gay and Lesbian Freedom Day Parade in San Francisco.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art marked the anniversary of the creation and flying of the rainbow flag by hanging a pride flag in one of its galleries.

Michelle Millar Fisher hangs at rainbow flag in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Michelle Millar Fisher, the Louis C. Madeira IV assistant curator of European decorative arts, said this is a chance for them to celebrate art and the social impact of the flag.

"The flag is a really important symbol of pride and love and respect and community," she added. "Part of what we want at the Philadelphia museum is for people to feel welcome and for them to see some of themselves in the collections they see on view when they come into the museum."

The museum's pay-what-you-wish admission on Wednesday will feature a rainbow flag birthday celebration, which is open to the public.

The flag will remain on display at the museum until July 8.

"It's one of these really wonderful symbols, like the piece sign or the recycling symbol," she continued, "one that didn't get trademarked and was given by its designer, its author, for everyone to use as they see fit."