NH: Liquor bottle sales to help preserve N.H. battle flags
By Allie Morris Monitor staff
March 10, 2016
New Hampshire liquor stores will sell two new limited-edition liquor bottles this year to help pay for conservation of the state’s deteriorating battle flag collection that lines the front hall of the State House.
A white circular liquor bottle that will come out this spring depicts a camping scene beneath the slogan, “New Hampshire Welcomes You.” A second liquor bottle set to be released this fall is shaped to form the outline of the state beneath a profile of the Old Man of the Mountain, the New Hampshire icon that crumbled more than a decade ago.
The state Liquor Commission designed both ceramic bottles, which will be manufactured in Eastern Europe and filled with vodka. The Joint Legislative Historical Committee approved the commemorative bottle designs Monday.
Each bottle will cost between $24.99 and $29.99, and together they are expected to generate $60,000 to $70,000 for battle flag conservation efforts. A similar commemorative liquor bottle, released in 2013, raised about $82,000.
The state has yet to settle on a plan to conserve the deteriorating battle flags, which line the lobby of the state house behind glass cases that are not airtight or temperature controlled.
The Joint Legislative Historical Committee recently shelved a $1 million plan to conserve the 87 Civil War-era flags by encasing them in mesh and re-hanging them on their staffs in updated cases. Some members raised concern that the delicate fabric would disintegrate if the cases – which have gone untouched for decades – were to be opened. Many of the Civil War flags are spattered with blood and shredded by gunfire, and some are nothing more than worn strands of fraying fabric. Another proposal, to lay the flags flat in glass display cases, was nixed.
The committee did agree to replace the film on the glass display cases that protects the flags from damaging ultraviolet light. And the committee opted to regularly photograph the artifacts to track whether, and at what rate, they are actually disintegrating.
Committee Chairman David Welch said he is hopeful the State House bicentennial in 2019 will raise awareness of the battle flags and generate more money to pay for their preservation.
“There’s no actual plan until there’s sufficient money to pursue a project,” said Welch, a Kingston Republican. “Every year we delay, the costs go up.”