So…What’s Next for the Independent Man?

The Independent Man is on the move! On Monday, January 8, the 14-foot gold-plated statue of the Independent Man will travel to the Rhode Island National Guard’s North Main Street Armory in Providence, where it will spend the next several months undergoing restoration work. The statue will be placed in a hand-crafted, padded cradle and transported by flatbed truck to its new location.

“After decades of weathering storms, blizzards and hurricanes, the Independent Man is getting a much needed touch-up to restore him to his original glory,” said Governor Dan McKee. “Preserving this important piece of our state’s history would not be possible without the support from the Rhode Island National Guard, and we’re grateful for their assistance.”

“We are indebted to the RI National Guard for providing a suitable and secure space for work to proceed on this Rhode Island treasure,” said Director of Administration Jonathan Womer.

The state is finalizing a contract with President and Principal Conservator of EverGreene Architectural Arts Mark Rabinowitz, who will oversee the restoration of the statue. Rabinowitz earned a degree in sculpture from Rhode Island School of Design before embarking on a career in preservation that has included work on the U.S. Capitol and the Jefferson Memorial.

The restoration process for the Independent Man will include detailed cleaning of the statue’s surface, repair work to the gold plating, and an application of gold leaf on top of the plating. Gold leaf was the original covering of the Independent Man, but due to wear and weathering, the remaining leaf was removed in the 1970s and replaced with gold plating. The latest conservation work will restore the gold leaf covering while retaining the gold plate underneath, so that any future wear to the gold leaf will not significantly impact the statue’s color.

The Independent Man will remain near the main entrance to the State House until Friday, January 5. All visitors are welcome and encouraged to take a picture with the statue and sign the guest book.




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