The Wisconsin Civil War battle flags remained undisturbed in their glass
cases on the fourth floor of the state capitol for nearly fifty years.
The GAR Memorial Hall Museum, meanwhile, passed into the control of the newly created Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs in 1945. In 1964, museum curators from the State Historical Society of Wisconsin catalogued the battle flag collection during a general upgrading of the museum displays.""
Thirteen years later, in 1977, a Smithsonian Institution consultant visited the GAR Museum to examine the battle flag collection, that by then was sadly in need of conservation. Subsequent conservation grant proposals to the National Endowment for the Arts failed, but in 1981 private donations from a wide range of individuals, school children, corporations, veterans' groups, and foundations as well as legislatively approved funds from the Veterans Trust Fund initiated the Wisconsin Civil War Battle Flag Conservation Project."' The project is an ongoing one and to date has conserved 110 historic flags, including those of the Iron Brigade.
When the GAR Museum moved from the state capitol to adjacent modern facilities being developed for the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, the battle flags moved too.
Portions of the conserved flag collection are displayed at the new Wisconsin Veterans Museum, which was opened in 1993. There, the public may view the proud remnants of banners designed, created, and borne in battle during the time of Abraham Lincoln.
The Wisconsin Veterans Museum
The Wisconsin Veterans Museum, located across the street from the State Capitol, is dedicated to the state's citizen-soldiers, who gave their youth, their aspirations and in some cases their lives to serve America in times of peril. The 10,000-square-foot museum contains two main galleries, a changing exhibits area, and a gift shop.
"'Wisconsin Statutes, Chap. 45, Veterans Affairs, Benefits and
Memorials, 45.01, G.A.R. Memorial Hall, and 45.02, Memorial Collection; John R.
Moses to Joe Nusbaum September 30, 1962 Leslie 11. Fishel, Jr., to John R.
Moses, June 30, 1964; Proposed Plan for Restoration of the G.A.R. Memorial Hall
all in Wisconsin Veterans Museum Records; and Paul Vanderbilt, "A Museum
Transformed: Grand Army Memorial Hall in Madison," in WMH 48:295-296 Summer
187 Dennis K. McDaniel to Grace Rogers Cooper, May 31, 1977, Wisconsin Veterans Museum Records.
... Grant applications to the National Endowment for the Arts, June 14, 1978, and June 1, 1979 Minutes of the Regular meeting of the joint Committee on Finance under S.13.101, June 18, 1980, and Transfers and Supplements, June 26. 1980; Richard Zeitlin to John R. Moses, January 18, 1982, all in the Wisconsin Veterans Museum Records: and Howard M. Madaus, -Rally Round the Flag boys
in Lore, 32:3-13 (Spring, 1982).