I enjoy visiting art museums and galleries, especially if historical art is displayed! The Virginia Civil War Museum at New Market has The Robert Raeburn, VMI 1951, Civil War Art Gallery—a splendid collection of unique Civil War art, including some original pieces of Julian Scott and bronze studio cast by Moses Ezekiel.
Julian Scott, a Vermonter, enlisted with Union volunteers as a drummer. For his actions during the Battle of Lee’s Mill, Scott received the Medal of Honor for crossing “the creek under a terrific fire of musketry several times to assist in bringing off the wounded.” After the Civil War, Scott pursued art. Though he traveled to Europe, most of his art subjects and famous paintings focused on the American Civil War, the American West, and Native American culture.
Moses Ezekiel attended Virginia Military Institute and fought as a cadet at the Battle of New Market. After the war, he studied art and move to Europe. Bronze castings and sculpture were his art niche, including a memorial in Arlington National Cemetery. The gallery displays a half-scale studio cast of “Thomas Jefferson” which features the founding father standing atop a Liberty Bell, surrounded by figures representing Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood, and Justice. The full size original had been commissioned by Louisville, Kentucky and a replica also went to the University of Virginia while the smaller model was donated by the artist to Virginia Military Institute in 1914.
The Stained Glass Mural Wall is another popular piece of artistic creation. Created by Israeli-born artist Ami Shamir, the twenty-eight foot long stained glass mural uses clarity mixed with impressionism to tell a visual story of Civil War New Market. Flowing lines suggest the mountains surrounding the Shenandoah Valley and the famous river while flags, seals, and the names of the ten cadets who died as a result of the Battle of New Market bring the story of battle and war into the scenic setting. As museum staff will tell you, it’s one of the hardest things to photograph…so you’ll just have to see it in person for full appreciation! There are some clearer detailed photos on the museum website.
And if you’re thinking of visiting the Virginia Museum of the Civil War soon, there is good news. New Market battlefield and the museum operated by VMI are open with a few restrictions. Check their website for the most current hours and health and safety updates!
- Virginia Museum of the Civil War – The Robert Raeburn, VMI 1951, Civil War Art Gallery
- 8895 George Collins Parkway, New Market, VA 22844 (Just go all the way to the end of the road to find the state museum.)
- Website: https://www.vmi.edu/museums-and-archives/virginia-museum-of-the-civil-war/visit/
And if you’re not able to travel right now but want the “art gallery experience” (yeah, I miss it, too!) Central Virginia Battlefields Trust is hosting Meet The Artist on Saturday, August 29 at 7pm and chatting about Civil War art, memory, and airing an interview with artist Chad Wallace who shares about his creative process and research for creating historic art. Details here: https://bit.ly/CVBTRedBadgeofCourage