The Battle of Rhode Island Association

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Lecture: Conserving Byfield’s Flag, the Oldest in America with Maria Vazquez, Textile Conservator

September 20, 2023 @ 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

The Byfield Flag

On Wednesday, September 20th at 6 pm at Innovate Newport, 513 Broadway in Newport RI, The Battle of Rhode Island Association with our partners the Middletown Historical Society and the Varnum Memorial Armory present a lecture from Maria Vazquez, Textile Conservator, on Conserving Byfield’s Flag, the Oldest in America.

At the end of his life, Town Founder Nathanial Byfield donated his Colonel’s flag to Bristol, where it was
paraded at the head of the town’s 4th of July parade for almost forty years. The flag’s survival is a small
miracle. In the 1880s, the flag was packed away in a closet of the Burnside Building, not to be seen again
until 2019. Join textile conservator Maria Vazquez to learn about the rediscovery, conservation, and
preservation methods used on the oldest complete flag in America.

Maria Vazquez has a master’s degree in Textile Conservation from the University of Rhode Island. She
has appeared on multiple PBS specials, including one documenting the conservation she performed on
this oldest and most complete flag in North America, the Byfield Flag. She is currently Vice President of
the Varnum Memorial Armory in East Greenwich, RI, and works full-time as the Collections Manager for
the Naval War College Museum, in Newport, RI.

The lecture is free and open to the public, donations are appreciated though. This lecture is being filmed
for inclusion on our YouTube page and website.

The BoRIA Lecture series is sponsored by BankNewport

The Middletown Historical Society is an all-volunteer, non-profit educational organization, founded in
1976. Our mission is to preserve the history of the town, investigate all aspects of past records and new
findings pertaining to its history, promote education, and preserve historical landmarks while providing
the ability for others to view.

The Varnum Armory Museum preserves and shares Rhode Island military history to inspire and educate
the public. Please take a virtual tour of their museum to learn more about their mission to encourage
patriotism. You can participate with them through active membership and/or philanthropic support in
their non-profit organization. Donations are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. For more
information visit:

BankNewport: Founded in 1819 and headquartered in Newport, BankNewport is one of the longest-standing community banks in the United States and, as a mutual organization, is committed to the financial success of its customers, employees, and communities. BankNewport supports nonprofits with areas of impact focused on basic human needs, education, economic security, arts and culture, and the environment. BankNewport has awarded over $8 million in grants, sponsorships, and donations over the past ten years to a wide range of nonprofits to help strengthen and enrich lives and communities throughout Rhode Island. Financial education and community service performed by employees totals 8,500 hours annually. For more information, please visit

The Battle of Rhode Island Association is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit committed to raising
awareness of Rhode Island’s role in the War for Independence. This is accomplished by research, talks,
living history events, publications, and our website ( Donations may be made
payable to “BoRIA” at PO Box 626, Portsmouth, RI 02871 or by visiting:


September 20, 2023
6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Event Category:


Innovate Newport
513 Broadway
Newport, RI 02840 United States
+ Google Map
(401) 302-3370
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