This review focuses on the historical tour of the armory.
They hold the tours generally every month, sometimes a couple of times a month. They are 25 dollars and at 11 AM.
Our guide, Grace, was knowledgeable and down to earth. It was interesting to hear about the armory’s different lives: a rich boy’s club for aristocrats to play soldier, later a legitimate armory, a crumbling relic, then back to life as a landmark and restoration project, as well as a versatile performance/event space.
The architecture varies from fully restored to arrested decay. The veterans room is their crown jewel and full of Tiffany glass and beautiful tile work. There is handsome woodwork throughout and a grand staircase.
On the second floor, the armory houses restored locker rooms from the original construction, where performers rehearse and artists in residence work.
Another floor is a women’s shelter, while yet another floor actually does house a national guard unit.
We got to see a stage being designed in the vast drill hall. I’ll be excited to see some programming here—they have everything from art shows to music and percussion pieces, historical lectures, and dance. The show coming up is a troupe of African dancers, which looks amazing.