When Civil War soldiers were stationed in Northern Virginia, they left behind drawings, written passages, and other graffiti that serve as a historical record.
Now those markings at two historic Virginia sites are being preserved thanks to a partnership between George Mason University’s award-winning Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (RRCHNM), the Fairfax City’s Office of Historic Resources, and the Brandy Station Foundation. The partnership recently received a $60,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Preservation and Access, to support the project.
The grant “Off the Wall: Digital Preservation of Civil War Graffiti Houses” will develop a proposal for an eventual implementation grant aimed at digitizing and contextualizing the graffiti and associated ancillary materials held by Historic Blenheim in Fairfax and the Brandy Station Foundation in Culpeper related to the graffiti in their two historic house museums.
Working with R.B. Toth Associates LLC of Oakton, this grant will use a range of digital imaging technology and work processes to capture the graffiti on the walls of Historic Blenheim and the Graffiti House at Brandy Station, and develop a metadata schema that will allow for the digitization and contextualization of the graffiti. This schema will serve as a model for future digitization projects of images on vertical surfaces.
“The graffiti gives you an insight into the lived experience of an individual soldier who was struggling to deal with an incredibly brutal war,” said Mills Kelly, director of RRCHNM and project manager.
You can read more in an article by Shayla Brown published in George Mason University’s web site at: https://www.gmu.edu/news/2023-03/neh-grant-helps-mason-partners-create-digital-archive-civil-war-graffiti.