Jenison museum discovers rare 42-star American flag

An American flag with 42-stars that is on display at the Jenison Historical Museum on May 2, 2017.

GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Volunteers at the Jenison Historical Museum made a rare discovery one day while organizing their office — two antique American flags.

Staffers found the flags, one with 46 stars and another with just 42, in a box they believe was donated in the 90s.

“When we went a little further down, we found two flags. They were very old and very large. It was difficult to even get them out. We didn’t want them to touch the ground or anything,” said Yvonne Williams, a museum volunteer.

The unofficial 42-star flag was accurate for just 243 days. It flew for around eight months from November 1889 to July 3, 1890 when Idaho joined the Union.

“It’s amazing to me that it’s in such good condition,” said Williams.

The flag was officially updated on July 4, 1890 to a 43-star flag from a flag with 38 stars to represent the additions of North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Washington state and Idaho, according to the Smithsonian Institution.

“When we looked at the stars, that’s what was so amazing about them, they’re hand sown. At least on the oldest flag they are hand sown on both sides,” Williams said.

The two American flags are now on display at the Jenison Historical Museum, located at 28 Port Sheldon Street.

The museum is only open select days and times:

  • May 20 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • June 6 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • June 17 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • July 15 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • August 1 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Tours can also be scheduled by calling the Jenison Historical Museum at 616.457.4398.



The Jenison Historical Association