Museum Exhibits






"Seventeen Men: Portraits of the Men of the 25th US Colored Troops"

Learn how the discovery of a tiny pocket-sized photo album led to a months-long research project for genealogist and artist Shayne Davidson, culminating in a series of 17 life sized portraits. The Seventeen Men were soldiers with the 25th US Colored Troops Co. G from 1863-1865. Each portrait is accompanied by a short biography of the man's life and a reproduced image of the original albumin print or tintype the portrait is based on.  

About the Artist

A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Shayne Davidson holds a BFA from California Institute of the Arts and an MFA in Medical and Biological Illustration from the University of Michigan. After she retired from commercial illustration, she focused her attention on genealogy. While creating a family tree for a friend, she was told about an album owned by Captain William Prickitt containing tiny photos of 17 Civil War soldiers who served under Prickitt in the USCT. Fascinated by the photos, she extensively researched the men’s lives and drew their life-sized portraits. The resulting work became a traveling exhibit titled Seventeen Men.

In addition to Seventeen Men, the exhibit gallery features information about the US Colored Troops (USCT) that fought in the Cape Fear region during the Wilmington Campaign. USCT regiments were present at the Battles of Fort Fisher and engaged Confederate troops as the Union army moved up the peninsula from Fort Fisher to capture the city of Wilmington, the last major supply line of the Confederacy. Most notably, during the Battle of Forks Road when the 5th USCT led a frontal assault on the deeply entrenched enemy. More than 50% of the Union casualties on the campaign to reclaim Wilmington were men from the USCT Regiments, and without their sacrifice, Wilmington would likely have stayed in Confederate hands and the Civil War would have continued.

The travelling exhibit will be on display February 9 - June 2, 2024, during regular museum hours, Tues-Sat 10:00-5:00 pm and Sunday 1:00-5:00 pm. Admission is free.