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Shepherd students, alumnus create Civil War exhibit for Shepherdstown museum

ISSUED: 31 May 2012
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens
(Shepherd students, alumnus create Civil War exhibit for Shepherdstown museum)

Shepherdstown, WV--A new permanent exhibit featuring Civil War Shepherdstown opened recently at the Shepherdstown Historic Museum, which was curated and written by Shepherd alumnus Nicholas Redding and designed by senior bachelor of fine arts students, Kristian DelaCruz, of Hagerstown, and Michael Vowell, of Pueblo, Colorado.

While doing photo research for his book, "History and Guide to Civil War Shepherdstown; Victory and Defeat in West Virginia's Oldest Town," Redding inquired about plans for the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam and Shepherdstown. When museum officials learned of his interest in the subject, they asked him if he'd be interested in redoing the display.

"It's one thing to curate a display, but to design it is entirely different," Redding said.

Redding said he knew he'd need help, so he contacted Shepherd president Dr. Suzanne Shipley about calling in the graphic design department as reinforcements to give students real-world experience.

Kristin Kaineg, associate professor of art at Shepherd, designed the flow of the exhibit and worked with the printer.

"This project was special because we collaborated with the town and were able to leave our mark on history; especially during the 150 anniversary of the Civil War," Kaineg said. "It is great for the students and the faculty to work so closely together. We all learned so much about Shepherdstown before, during, and after the war. It is not every day we get the chance to work on a project like this; it was truly an honor."

The display interprets how the war changed the life of five individuals in Shepherdstown: Charles Wesley Andrews, a minister; Henrietta Bedinger Lee, a matriarch; Mary Bedinger Mitchell, a child; Henry Kyd Douglas, a solider; and Wesley Seibert, a slave.

Redding said he wanted to condense the story of the war's impact on Shepherdstown into something that was personal that visitors to the museum could identify with.

Work on the display began in the November 2011 and includes photos and letters from private and public collections from the Historic Shepherdstown Museum, the Jefferson County Museum, the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and the Charles Wesley Andrews Papers at Duke University.

"This is the first time the story of what happened in Shepherdstown is being told in a personal way, through the eyes of individuals who experienced it first hand," Redding said.

Redding said that the exhibit gives residents and visitors of the town an idea of what happened and how Shepherdstown became what it is today.

"Shepherd University is a direct descendant of the void left in Shepherdstown after the war," Redding said. "The community wanted to give its children a leg up by providing a higher learning opportunity. That would eventually result in Shepherd."

"I hope its the first of many permanent exhibits," Redding said.

Redding said would like to see a display on the Revolutionary War's impact on Shepherdstown.

Redding will speak on September 20 as part of the 250th anniversary celebration of the town on the history of the Civil War in Shepherdstown. A book signing will follow.

Redding's book was published by Schroeder Publications and is owned by Shepherd alumnus Patrick Schroeder '90.

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Pictured left to right are Melissa Scotton, assistant professor of art; Kristin Kaineg, associate professor of art; Nicholas Redding '08; and Michael Vowell, student designer.

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