The Battle of Rhode Island Association

Maria Vazquez on Byfield's Flag

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On Wednesday, September 20th at 6 pm at Innovate Newport, 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.