The Chattanooga History Collections have been in good hands since being acquired by the UTC Library and the Chattanooga Public Library in June 2017. Professional archivists and librarians have worked hard at preserving, inventorying, exhibiting and providing access to the Collections, which contain thousands of items, including photographs, textiles and industrial equipment that document Chattanooga’s storied past.
Six exhibits have been curated from the Collections, and hundreds of questions from researchers have been answered. Archivists have utilized the Collections in classes with students from UTC, Covenant College, Southern Adventist University and the McCallie School. UTC and CPL also continue to meet with donors to the Collections, addressing any lingering concerns over acquisition and access.
Since June 2017, the Chattanooga History Collections have been stored within Special Collections at the UTC Library in a secure and climate-controlled facility. In June 2019, many of the oversized physical items were transferred to the Downtown Branch of CPL. Those items continue to be housed in archival enclosures in a secure and climate-controlled storage environment. Photographs, documents and archaeological material are still housed in Special Collections at UTC.
The Chattanooga History Collections are open to the public, with many items available online through UTC Special Collections. Currently, a sample of items from the collection are being showcased as part of the Builders and Founders exhibit on the Third Floor of the downtown branch of CPL. Now that physical items have been transferred to CPL, its Local History and Genealogy department plans to exhibit additional items and offer in-house reference services.
“We see the importance of having these artifacts accessible to the public,” said Corinne Hill, director of the Chattanooga Public Library. “Our goal with these exhibits is to educate all ages of the Chattanooga community and visitors by showcasing and preserving the history and artifacts of this collection.”
Those interested in viewing materials can make an appointment by contacting UTC Library’s Special Collections at https://www.utc.edu/library/special-collections/. Special Collections is free and open to the public.
If you are interested in assisting with the curation of the Chattanooga History Collections, you can work as a volunteer in UTC’s Special Collections. Information about volunteer opportunities is available from https://www.utc.edu/library/special-collections/about/volunteers.php.
The Chattanooga History Collections are important to the UTC Library and the Chattanooga Public Library. Both libraries feel honored as the keepers of these rich cultural materials and look forward to their continued role in preserving, exhibiting and providing access to these collections.