House of Flags needs help

Published 6:49 pm Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Flag museum hit hard during COVID pandemic

COLUMBUS—Polk County’s flag museum needs help. 

House of Flags Museum Curator, Director and Treasurer Robert Williamson spoke with the Polk County Board of Commissioners during the county’s December meeting to say the museum has a big setback. 

“COVID-19 hit our community hard,” Williamson said. “Volunteers hunkered down, not to return. Our doors now only open one day a week, on Saturdays, for ‘self-guided’ tours. Our board of directors membership has also dwindled.” 

Williamson also said grants and donations have nearly ceased but overhead and insurance continue. 

“So far this year our 25-year old furnace quit and now runs with temporary repairs and the AC had to be replaced,” said Williamson. “Consequently, our funds dwindled rapidly.” 

The museum needs people to be volunteer greeters, people to join the board of directors and financial donations. 

Polk County leases the building to the House of Flags for $1 a year. Williamson reviewed the museum’s history, saying there is not another one like it anywhere and founders knew that when they first opened on Sept. 8, 2001. The museum operated for 10 years in the old Green Creek School shop building with no heat, no air, no plumbing and lots of bugs, Williamson said. The late George Scofield started the House of Flags. 

The grand opening of the new location in Columbus was on 11/11/11 after $120,000 was raised in a little over a year to remodel the building. Williamson said there has been a total of $150,000 raised for the remodel of the building. 

“The board of directors raised nearly $150,000 from local individuals, organizations and corporate donors and local and national foundations,” Williams said. “Remodeling this 1950s building was a heroic effort, a labor of love. Volunteers dismantled and removed all the wiring, plumbing, insulation, partition walls in February 2011.” 

The House of Flags has more than 300 flags on display. The museum has made local, state and national news with its exhibits and tours. In 2012, the museum hosted an historical first Eisenhower Oval Office Presidential Flag exhibit that featured the actual 48, 49 and 50-star flags that graced the White House office in the 1950s. There were 1,000 visitors who toured the museum in 4 days. 

Williamson asked commissioners to help spread the word about the unique museum and its needs. Anyone with questions can contact Williamson at 828-894-5640 or email at flagmuseum@gmail.com. The museum is located at 33 Gibson Street, Columbus, where donations can be mailed. More information can be found and donations made at houseofflags.org.