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Dr. Charles Ross

Dr. Charles RossCharles D. Ross has been at Longwood since 1992, serving as Professor of Physics, Chair of the Department of Natural Sciences and currently as Dean of the Cook-Cole College of Arts and Sciences.  He was awarded a bachelor’s degree in Nuclear Engineering, a master’s degree in Engineering Physics and a doctorate in Materials Science from the University of Virginia.  He won the Maria Bristow Starke Award for Faculty Excellence at Longwood in 2002.

Along with colleagues at the University of Virginia, he was a co-author of a five million dollar National Science Foundation grant involving work on nanotechnology.  He has written three books involving the role of science and engineering in military history.  This work has led to appearances on The History Channel, The National Geographic Channel, Public Broadcasting System and National Public Radio and a consultancy with the FBI and LAPD.

Charles is married with two children and lives in Farmville.

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  1. Dave Werning says:

    I’m writing to let you know about a Civil War exhibition that recently opened at the Toledo Museum of Art. We thought it would interest you and the readers of your website.

    Marking 150 years since the end of the American Civil War, the Toledo Museum of Art is retelling the war story as captured by artists, illustrators and photographers. Many of these artists were commissioned by the leading publications of the time, sent alongside troops on the front lines of battle to document the war for citizens on both sides of the conflict. The stirring images in this new exhibition, The American Civil War: Through Artists’ Eyes, is on view April 3-July 5 at TMA.

    The massive painting Battery H 1st Ohio Volunteers Light Artillery in Action at Cold Harbor by Gilbert Gaul, a portrait of Rutherford B. Hayes in his Union major general’s uniform and a bronze cast of Abraham Lincoln’s hand are among the 50 objects included in the exhibition.

    Beyond sketches, paintings and artifacts, the growing medium of photography was also used to record battle sites and posed groups of soldiers during the war. Gardner’s Photographic Sketch Book of the War, created by Alexander Gardner and a small group of outstanding American photographers, was published in two volumes in 1866 and became one of the most significant books in American history. These fragile books from TMA’s own collection are rarely on display and will be included in The American Civil War: Through Artists’ Eyes.

    I’m happy to provide images or connect you with the exhibition’s curator, should you be able to share the news in some way. A full press release is included below. Please let me know if this interests you, and if you will be able to pass along word of this fascinating art exhibition to your readers.

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    150 Years after Civil War’s End, Toledo Museum of Art Reexamines Conflict That Divided the Nation
    TOLEDO, Ohio – They were tasked with documenting the Civil War – both the humdrum moments and the perilous, bloody violence that punctuated them.
    Now, 150 years after the end of the conflict, the works of those artists, illustrators and photographers who brought the frontlines to life for the era’s Americans will be reexamined in a new exhibition at the Toledo Museum of Art.
    The American Civil War: Through Artists’ Eyes, on view April 3-July 5 in Galleries 28 and 29, uses paintings, drawings, sculpture, photographs and artifacts to retell the events of the time. Admission to the focus exhibition is free.
    Curatorial staff member Ed Hill spent nearly six months studying public and private collections, as well as the one at the Toledo Museum of Art, for works that would convey the story vividly. The objects on loan come from the William L. Clements Library at the University of Michigan, the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center and the Oregon-Jerusalem Historical Society, among others.
    “I wanted to do a show not to celebrate the war, but to acknowledge and remember it,” said Hill, who also organized the Museum’s popular 2013 exhibition Perry’s Victory: The Battle of Lake Erie. “There are lessons to be learned, and art can often serve as a starting point for looking back and trying to understand those lessons.”
    Artists were often embedded with the troops, sleeping, eating and commiserating with soldiers – and enduring the same dangers, according to Hill. They were commissioned by the era’s leadingnewspapers and magazines to provide imagery for the country’s citizens, both Confederate and Union, waiting eagerly for news of the battles.
    A monumental canvas in the exhibition measuring nearly six by 10 feet shows the artillery unit Battery H, a battalion that included many young men from Northwest Ohio, portrayed in a brutal clash between North and South. Titled Battery H 1st Ohio Volunteers Light Artillery in Action at Cold Harbor, the painting by Gilbert Gaul is on loan from the Oregon-Jerusalem Historical Society.
    Also on display are depictions of the region’s Civil War participants, including a portrait of 19th U.S. president Rutherford B. Hayes on loan from Fremont, Ohio’s Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center. The Center has also lent artifacts, including a sword Hayes carried in battle and a bronze cast of Abraham Lincoln’s hand.
    Civil War documentation extended beyond artifacts, paintings and sketches; still photography was a budding medium. While cameras of the time couldn’t capture the movement of a battle scene, they provided an important historical record of battle sites and posed groups of soldiers.
    Photographer Alexander Gardner led a small group of outstanding American photographers documenting major events of the war. His Gardner’s Photographic Sketch Book of the War from the Museum’s own collection will be on display in the exhibition. It was published in two volumes in 1866, becoming one of the most important books published in American history and one of the most significant works of photojournalism. The fragile volumes are rarely on display.
    In its 100 images – selected from 3,000 original photographs – Gardner and other men document work on the battlefields, destroyed cities and burial parties. In one, skulls and boots are assembled on a stretcher in a (possibly staged) image in Cold Harbor, Virginia. Arranging the bodies of dead soldiers for a photograph was not an uncommon practice at the time.
    Hill believes all of the works retain their poignancy a century and a half later, and help us understand an era whose conflicts still have implications today.
    “The hope is that any viewer can spend time in the exhibition and come away with an understanding of what the Civil War was,” Hill said. “It was a moment in history that still reverberates.”
    “These were stirring images at the time they were released, and they are equally moving now,” Hill said. “Our country split itself in two, so the enemy could have been a brother, a cousin, a neighbor. It wasn’t as easy to demonize people, yet the level of violence was still astounding.”
    This free exhibition is made possible by members of the Toledo Museum of Art and by funding through the Ohio Arts Council sustainability grant program.
    General admission to the Museum is free. Parking is free for Museum members and $5 for nonmembers. A number of Civil War-related programs are planned; visit toledomuseum.org for more information.
    # # #

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