A recent Elkin High School graduate, Taylor Osborne, now has his graduation project dioramas on display at the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History.
Osborne graduated from Elkin High School in 2015 and did his graduation project on the American Revolution’s Southern Campaign. Taylor spent about 1,000 hours building battlefields and hand painting each figure on the dioramas which are miniature versions of the Battle of Camden, South Carolina, the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, and the Siege of Yorktown.
Every senior graduating from Elkin High School must complete a graduation project which includes a research paper on a chosen topic, 15 hours of hands-on work in the chosen field, and a portfolio documenting that work. However, Osborne greatly exceeded the required hours and effort for the project.
Osborne explained, “I really love the American Revolution and until this project I didn’t know much about the Southern Campaign, so I spent all those hours researching everything I could about it and also making sure the uniforms in the figures I painted were as accurate as possible.”
After graduation Osborne realized he wanted to put his work to good use educating his community. He contacted several museums about displaying his project. “First I talked to the Wilkes County History Museum, and they came up with the idea of it becoming a traveling exhibit, but they struggled finding museums interested,” explained Osborne. Other area museums simply lacked space, but Mount Airy welcomed the dioramas and visitors may view them through mid-May.
Now a freshman at Surry Community College taking as many history courses as possible, Osborne also has begun attending reenactments with his father, Lauren Osborne. They are both interested in joining Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), which is limited to descendants of those who fought in the war. The Osbornes recently discovered an early American ancestor, Thomas Poindexter Jr., who would qualify them for membership.
Osborne said the graduation project helped him realize how much he loved the American Revolution and helped him expand his view of it. “If it wasn’t for this project I would have never began going to reenactments which now I take part in with the 6th North Carolina Revolutionary War Reenactment Unit. [The graduation project] influenced me to eventually pursue a Ph.D. in the American Revolution as well.”
Katie Beard is a member of the Elkin High School Journalism Club.