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In the South, several states rely on donations from re-enactment groups and descendants of Confederate soldiers to fund flag preservation.

The Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond is home to the largest Civil War battle flag collection in the South with more than 500 banners. John Coski, a historian at the museum, called flag preservation “a universal problem.”

Edward McNatt Butler, former commander of the Tennessee division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, called the battle-scarred banners “flags of honor.” The group has raised money to help the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville preserve six of its more than 60 Civil War flags, museum officials said.

“Some of them are in pitiful shape,” Mr. Butler, a 66-year-old retiree from Cookeville, Tenn., said Tuesday. “Those people are tickled that we’re able to donate the amount of money we’re able to donate on an annual basis so they can do their job.”