Off the Clock: Flags Are Flying Where This Music Professor Goes

Posted: December 10, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Ryann Doyle

Mark Camphouse
Mark Camphouse

The dictionary would label him as a vexilologist, but conducting and composition professor Mark Camphouse just calls himself a flag collector.

Camphouse collects flags of all kinds: state, colonial, international, political and sports. He says his hobby of collecting flags stems from his love for history and his interest in the meaning and appearance of different flags.

“Each flag tells a story about the unique development of a culture and their people. The story behind each one is as interesting and distinctive as its appearance,” says Camphouse.

While Camphouse flies most of his flags from a 22-foot flagpole at home, he keeps a few small ones in his Mason office.
Photos by Evan Cantwell

While teaching at Radford University in the 1980s, Camphouse would fly different flags from his 22-foot flagpole rooted in his front yard. Children and students passing by his yard began to take notice of the flags as he changed them periodically. They started asking questions about the flags and became interested in each one. Camphouse enjoyed sharing the history and stories behind the flags, and when he moved to Manassas, Va., to teach at Mason, he brought his flagpole with him.

As the seasons, holidays and sporting events change, so do the flags on the Camphouse pole. Camphouse says his Green Bay Packers flag has gotten its use this football season. There is only one flag, the Confederate flag, that Camphouse refuses to fly because of its negative connotation of racism and hatred.

Camphouse has about 50 flags, and he says he continues to collect them because they are colorful, fun and attract attention. His favorite flags are the red, white and blue British Union Jack flag, the Canadian flag with the maple leaf and the modern American flag.

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