Here are some before-and-after images of our newly renovated storage room and accessible bathroom at the Varnum Memorial Armory Museum. For those who remember the old “rustic” downstairs men’s bathroom, this is a pretty amazing transformation. We look forward to making this room a productive part of the armory museum again.
In addition to the interview, Patrick takes on on detailed walk-through of the Armory and talks about some of the more amazing historical exhibits and stories contained within the Armory walls.
Watch the video here!
Amazon donates 0.5% of your purchase price to the Varnum Continentals. Click here to support us at no cost to you! Just remember to always start shopping at smile.amazon.com after choosing the Varnums as your Amazon Smile beneficiary!
Detailed instructions on how to sign up:
=== ON YOUR COMPUTER ===
- Log in to your Amazon account via web browser.
- Go to this link: https://smile.amazon.com/ch/05-0301441
This link lands on a page titled “Support Varnum Continentals Inc”. Below that title, you’ll see a yellow button marked “Start shopping.” Click that button.
- You will be asked to verify that you understand that you must start shopping at “smile.amazon.com” in order to benefit the Varnum Continentals. Check the checkbox to verify.
- Go to this link: https://smile.amazon.com/
- To verify that you’re supporting the Varnum Continentals, look to the two menu ribbons at the top of the page. The top black ribbon contains the search field. In the dark gray menu ribbon just below, look to the left-hand side and you should see the word “Supporting:” in orange followed by “Varnum Continentals Inc” (the organization’s full name might be cut off by a few characters). If you see that, then you’ve succeeded in designating the Varnum Continentals as the beneficiary of the donations generated by your purchases.
*** !!!THIS IS IMPORTANT!!! ***
- To provide donations to the Varnum Continentals via your Amazon purchases, you must ALWAYS start shopping at the link: https://smile.amazon.com/
If you just go to www.amazon.com, you can still buy stuff, but your designated charity will get nothing.
=== ON YOUR PHONE OR MOBILE DEVICE ===
If you never shop using the Amazon app on your phone, then you do not have to do this.
- Follow all of the steps above to designate the Varnum Continentals as your donation beneficiary.
- At the bottom-right of your screen on your Amazon phone app, you’ll see three horizontal lines. Select that three-line icon.
- At the top of the resulting screen, you’ll see a button for “Gifting and Charity”. Select that button.
- A new menu of sub-options will open. Scroll down to find “AmazonSmile”. Select that button.
- On the resulting screen, you’ll see a large yellow button that says “Turn on AmazonSmile”. Select that button.
- On the next screen, you’ll get a confirmation that you want to turn on Amazon Smile on your phone/mobile device. You will see a large yellow button reading “Get Started”. Select that button.
- The next screen is titled “Turn on AmazonSmile in the app”. Select the yellow button reading “Next”.
- On the next screen, you will see a yellow button reading “Turn on AmazonSmile”. Select that button.
- On the next “Welcome!” screen, select the yellow button reading “Start Shopping”.
- You will be taken back to the Amazon home screen and can start shopping.
After following this process, your phone app will automatically generate purchase donations to your designated charity.
We’ve walked past this artwork at the Varnum Memorial Armory Museum for years without giving it much thought (believing it was 1990s computer-generated dot art). Boy, were we wrong…
This is an engraving from 1865 where a calligrapher cleverly shaded their penmanship to create a facsimile of Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of George Washington using the words of the U.S. Constitution. Here is a description of one in the collection at Mt. Vernon:
“During the 19th century, America’s founding documents – the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence – inspired numerous artists and publishers to produce decorative versions, suitable for framing and display. In this calligraphy portrait, the artist has cleverly shaded the words of the Constitution and amendments, so that George Washington’s face emerges from the text.
Washington’s likeness is based on Gilbert Stuart’s popular ‘Athenaeum’ portrait, originally painted in 1796 and widely copied in paintings, prints, textiles, china, and the dollar bill. Washington’s name also appears, as a signer, at the center edge of his coat collar, about half-way down the white cravat.
The text ends with the 13th amendment’s prohibition of slavery, suggesting a creation date shortly after 1865, but before the passage of the 14th amendment in mid-1866 or its ratification in 1868. Notably, Washington’s portrait did not make its first debut on the dollar bill until 1869.
The artist, William Henry Pratt (1822-1893), was a professor of penmanship in Davenport, Iowa, and the first curator of that city’s Academy of Natural Sciences. He collaborated with the Davenport lithography firm of August Hageboeck on at least three other calligraphy portraits: Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation, Washington and the Declaration of Independence, and Ulysses Grant and the Republican Party platform of 1868.”
Airman Stephen E. Roomes (left) of Providence, RI, was the first and only Black American to serve in the Air Force’s first “Prime BEEF” unit (Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force). This highly rapid deployment, special civil engineering unit was created to establish and maintain bases and airfields, as well as respond to chemical, biological, and radiological emergencies.
Stephen served in the Korean War as well as Vietnam War. He and his son, Jason, are direct descendants of Caesar Roomes who had been freed from enslavement to serve in the 1st Rhode Island “Black” Regiment during the American Revolutionary War.
A collection of Stephen’s things will go on display soon at the Varnum Memorial Armory Museum in a new Cold War exhibit.