The travelling portraiture exhibit, “17 Men,” is on display at the Loudoun Museum through early August.

The exhibit includes colored pencil drawings of soldiers from the 25th Infantry Regiment of U.S. Colored Troops by artist Shayne Davidson. The portraits are based on photographs taken of them during the Civil War era when their white commanding officer sought to memorialize their service.

Loudoun Museum has opened its upstairs Odd Fellows Hall space for the showing and will host a trio of events throughout the summer relating to the exhibit. 

“This exhibit gives visitors a great opportunity to explore a new space in the museum and learn about a fascinating history that’s relevant to Loudoun County,” said Interim Director Lori Wysong. There are a number of USCTs who were born and raised in Loudoun, and several who are buried in local cemeteries. We look forward to discussing these stories a little more in-depth at our events this summer.”

From noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 11, Loudoun Museum will partner with the Virginia Piedmont Heritage Area for a Living History Day, featuring USCT reenactor Hugh Goffinet and live music from the Civil War era.

On July 14 starting at 6 p.m., the Museum will partner with Loudoun County Public Libraries to host guest speaker and historian Jonathan Noyalas, a who will speak about USCT service in his most recent book, “Slavery and Freedom in the Shenandoah Valley during the Civil War Era.” 

In August, the Museum will host a virtual interview with historian Kevin Grigsby, author of “From Loudoun To Glory,” about the USCT in Loudoun County. 

Friends of the Thomas Balch Library Black History Committee is a cosponsor of all summer programming relating to the “17 Men” exhibit, and Civil War Trails is facilitating its transport. 

“Davidson’s artwork invites us to come face to face with these veterans,” said Drew Gruber, executive director of Civil War Trails. “We hope this exhibit will inspire visitors to contemplate the other 180,000 other Black Civil War soldiers whose names and faces we do not know.” 

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