Daryl Black, Ph.D., a historian with credentials in both academic and public history, has joined the Chattanooga Regional History Museum staff as its new curator. Dr. Black will be in charge of conceptualizing and helping to produce the museum’s exhibits.
He is already at work on his first project, an exploration of Chattanooga’s retail history. The exhibit is slated to open Aug. 1 at the museum’s Chestnut Street building.
“We are so fortunate to have Daryl with us,” said museum executive director Gail Pollock, “not just because of his vast knowledge of history but also because of his demonstrated ability to communicate that knowledge to people of all ages and backgrounds in a way that is both compelling and easy to understand. He is the essence of a public historian: a scholar dedicated to helping people realize how our past has worked to make us who we are today as a community.”
Dr. Black will also be revamping the museum’s permanent exhibits, which trace regional history from its prehistoric, archeological record to the present day. “I want our core exhibits – as well as our changing exhibits -- to tell a fresh version of the Chattanooga story through the lens of our lived environment,” said Dr. Black. “I want them to illustrate how the decisions people make about social, cultural, political and economic life set the conditions for everyday experience and to inspire people to think about the implications of our community’s actions over time.”
A native of Stone Mountain, Ga., Dr. Black earned his B.A. in history at UTC, his M.A. in history from California State University at Long Beach, and his Ph.D. in history from the University of California at Irvine. He has served as lecturer in the University of California Irvine’s Humanities core course program and Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Auburn University where he taught Southern History, Civil War, Early American Republic, and American Religious History. He continues to teach courses on Chattanooga’s Civil War History through UTC’s continuing education program along with researching and writing about the social and cultural history of the United State’s Early Republic Period.
His public history experience includes an undergraduate internship at the Chattanooga Regional History Museum, work as a costumed living historian interpreting Civil War social and cultural history at Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park, and research assistance for the Atlanta History Center’s Gone For a Soldier and highly acclaimed Turning Point: The American Civil War exhibits.
Dr. Black moved back to Chattanooga in May of 2005. “I enjoyed my undergraduate time in Chattanooga and I always wanted to return,” he said. “I think the changes and the revitalized atmosphere that Chattanooga has created and the emphasis that has been put on museums and cultural attractions makes it even more appealing than ever before.”
In his spare time, Dr. Black enjoys playing with his two dogs Darby and Reginald, cooking and bicycling
The History Museum is a funded agency of Allied Arts of Greater Chattanooga. The Museum’s two-building campus is located downtown at 4th Street between Broad and Chestnut Streets. Entrances are located at both 4th and Chestnut and 4th and Broad.
The Broad Street building is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. The Chestnut Street building is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Admission is free for museum members, $4 for adults and $3 for children between the ages of five and 18. Group rates are available. Family memberships are $50 for one year, and memberships are available at a variety of other giving levels as well.
A free 20-minute video orientation to the region’s history, ‘Marks On The Land,’ is shown every half hour. The Museum's Chattanooga Store offers gifts, toys and apparel featuring regional brands such as Chattem, Krystal, Coca-Cola, Little Debbie, Litespeed and more. Sales from the Store help fund the museum’s operations and public programs. For more information, contact the museum at (423) 265-3247.