Associated Press

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - America's earliest museum is putting its flag collection on display.

The Charleston Museum on Monday opens an exhibit of flags spanning 200 years of American history. The flags will be on display through early January.

Jan Hiester, curator of textiles at the museum founded in 1773, says many of the flags are fragile and some have been flown in battle.

A new gallery with state-of-the-art lighting and ventilation makes it possible to display the flags, many of which have never been displayed in modern times.

The collection includes a rare seven-star Stars and Bars, the first flag of the Confederacy. It also includes the banners of unreconstructed white Southerners who formed rifle clubs after the Civil War.

Also on display is an unusual 42-star United States flag.

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