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The Forgotten Faces of Fort Craig – A Buffalo Soldier’s Story


It is done – visitors waited with great anticipate to come face to face with Thomas Smith, Buffalo Soldier. For the first time in history the 3 dimensional reconstruction of a Buffalo Soldier has been rendered. Over the course of two weeks, Thomas Smith’s face began to take shape at the hands of Forensic Sculptor Amanda Danning. The Buffalo Soldier’s National Museum, partnered with the Smithsonian Institute and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation along with the University of Houston’s, Cullen College of Engineering to reconstruct the face of a once living Buffalo Soldier. Each day as the layers of clay were added, visitors got closer to knowing who Thomas Smith was. Through the use of modern medical technology such as CT scans and x-rays, Doug Owsley of The Smithsonian Institute, was able to positively identify this soldier along with two others by comparing enlistment records from the 1800s.

Forensic Sculptor Amanda Danning holds skull

Forensic Sculptor Amanda Danningl

Students from area schools and universities along with social/civic organizations and churches flocked to witness history in the making. The theatre style exhibit ran the full month of February and allowed visitors to experience firsthand the science behind how forensic anthropologists and sculptors examed human remains to determine identities and complete facial reconstructions. Artifacts from Fort Craig and The Civil War were on display. Thomas Smith, once the victim of grave robbers has become a symbol of restoration and dignity. This is the story of how a once forgotten soldier became the center of attention and admiration for thousands of students in the greater Houston area, Texas and the nation. Visit the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum online at www.buffalosoldiermuseum.com

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