Local group Picnooga is seeking funding of $1.2 million to create a dedicated archive and public exhibit space honoring Chattanooga history. Their collection of crowd-sourced images and artifacts has continued to expand in recent years, and organizers would like to see it available in a way that could benefit the public. The organization believes having space to grow and maintain their growing historical collection will benefit Chattanooga schools, tourism, and local history enthusiasts, and will keep the buzz of Chattanooga history thriving. Next steps involve acquiring a building that Picnooga will use to launch the first phase of operations.
The planned space will feature small rotating public displays, highlighting the current collection as well as new and visiting exhibits. The facility will also have a classroom and can host programs for schoolchildren, community groups, and adult education. The ever-growing Picnooga collection will be featured via an interactive, online database that will allow the community to contribute stories and details about the images of the past.
Although Picnooga focuses on history, they will use cutting-edge tools to keep it top-of-mind. Extremely high resolution imagery and 360-degree views of objects will preserve historical objects as accurately as possible, and there are plans to 3D print replicas of artifacts. These services would be open to other local institutions to digitally archive and share their history.
Picnooga has not decided on an exact location for their operation at this time, although several sites are under consideration.
Now Picnooga seeks funds for this development, primarily through building relationships with organizations and private donors that want to contribute.
At the heart of this quest is Picnooga founder, David Moon. He expressed that it will take the enthusiasm of the community to see the project come to light. “We need believers and champions to make this all happen,” Moon said. “Local history can be a winning proposition in Chattanooga.” A city rich in history, Picnooga has seen what happens when the community starts pulling old photos from their attics and sharing them. A grassroots movement ensues: one filled with pride and wonder about the city we share. “Prominent citizens of the past put great value in local history, by collecting records of their lifetimes,” Moon said. Now Picnooga strives to showcase that history and continue their efforts.
Founded in 2014, Picnooga set out with a mission to crowdsource historical photos and objects from the greater Chattanooga community, unearthing historical treasures and digitally preserving them. Now in its second year, the organization has grown its physical collection to nearly 1000 images, objects, and ephemera items. They have an active community and social media following of 25,000, and continue to grow that engagement along with the contributions to their collection.