Beginning the weekend of Juneteenth, a traveling art exhibit highlighting the contributions of Black soldiers during the U.S. Civil War will be on display in Loudoun County, Virginia.
The exhibit, “17 Men,” features colored pencil drawings based on real-life portraits of Black soldiers who served during the Civil War. The subjects were all members of the 25th Infantry Regiment of the U.S. Colored Troops. Their commanding officer had commissioned the photos during a time when photography was rare.
The artist who recreated these portraits also researched each of the men’s stories, sharing details of their lives with visitors.
“Some are buried down the street in Mount Zion Cemetery so there’s a really rich history that we wanted to touch on,” said Lori Wysong, the interim director at the Loudoun Museum.
While many of the men were not originally from Loudoun County, Wysong says they are part of a rich history.
“We’re trying to connect that local history with a broader history,” said Wysong. “I think people are looking to learn more about this topic.”
A list of the soldiers’ names is on display and, later this summer, the museum will offer an event with a local historian and author who published a book about the soldiers’ experiences.
“Learning their history is a great way to honor their memories,” said Wysong.
Entry to the Loudoun Museum is free and the exhibit will be up until August. You can learn more here.