An exhibit, "Life through Letters: Samuel Jay's Story," will open May 14 from 5 to 8 p.m. in Washington.

The exhibit will be on view through June 11 in the entrance of Shepaug Valley Middle School on South Street.

"Life through Letters" traces the life of Samuel Jay Nettleton, a Washington Civil War soldier who was part of the 8th Connecticut Regiment.

It features letters, pictures and artifacts from Gunn Memorial Museum.

The exhibit is part of the national award-winning annual history project with the museum, which teaches history to students using local primary source documents from the museum.

Eighty-six eighth-grade social studies students at SVMS have been transcribing 40 letters by Nettleton and researching his life.

Their research has included family genealogy, an oral history interview with Samuel Nettleton's 103-year-old granddaughter, Edith Nettleton, a field trip to the Washington Cemetery and the Nettleton Family Homestead.

The students will share their transcriptions, original research and interpretation, consisting of poems, essays, illustrations, in an exhibit and book, which will be available for sale at the opening of the exhibit.

Civil War re-enactors will also be present at the opening of the exhibit and will be playing Civil War era music.

For more information, call Shepaug social studies teacher Brandi Dougherty at 860-868-6207, ext. 5501 or email