Picnooga brings Chattanooga history to the surface and makes it available to everyone.

Picnooga is the very first crowdsourced history collection of physical and digital objects in Chattanooga or anywhere. 

Founded in 2014, Picnooga began as a grassroots effort in public history to crowdsource a newly found layer of scattered, hidden, and all but forgotten imagery of Chattanooga’s past. We believe that even the smallest of artifacts unlocks a larger, deeper, and a more connective story of our area’s history.

We hunt for historical photographs and artifacts from the Chattanooga area, with an emphasis on sharing our collection and making it available to everyone as a free and open public resource. In a partnership with Deep Zoom Chattanooga, a searchable database of local historical newspapers is now online.

Our future path includes an incubator space to encourage new history projects and initiatives, with a public gallery for rotating exhibits and educational programs.

Our archive is a vision that has taken five years to realize, although we’ve shared thousands of images through Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr, reaching millions of desktops and eyeballs around the world since.

Peeling back the undiscovered layers

There is a lot of idle history put away in old trunks, boxes, attics, and basements. It’s what we refer to as the shoebox layer, and once saved and cherished memories are often in danger of being forgotten, damaged, or discarded. As time passes, we can disconnect with the faces and places in photographs. Picnooga digs deep with a purpose to share, preserve, and put old images in their place with local history.

Crowdsourcing deeper stories

“History is a kind of introduction to more interesting people than we can possibly meet in our restricted lives; let us not neglect the opportunity.” -Dexter Perkins

A photograph can often evoke a memory. For the past five years, storytelling through public response has been a valuable byproduct of our activities. The information or metadata that is attached to each object is continuously subject to a more complete and detailed description. Therefore, items in our collection do not sit underappreciated. We often revisit every object searching for its expanded story. That’s where your engagement is critical to help provide clues to unlocking a complete narrative. 

Our collecting focus

Our focus is both on digital and physical objects. You might notice that we also have a lot of old paper ephemera items, in addition to photographs. Paper is a valuable witness to history and offers details to events that often are forgotten. We also have a small collection of 3D items. They will be slowly introduced into our online collection.

How can you help…

The majority of our financial support comes from the public through crowdfunding. But we’ve also run into project sponsorship opportunities from The UNFoundation, EPB, River City Company, and Epson.

We need your continued support to grow. Please click here and give a gift of $10 or more to help sustain Picnooga’s future cataloging and preservation efforts.

Free. Open. Accessible.

F.O.A. is the foundation of Picnooga. Even if you cannot or choose not to financially support this project, our resources are always free, open, and accessible to everyone.

In 2017 we successfully crowdfunded a campaign to catalog our physical collections to present online. In part, the archive is available on Flickr with more artifacts being added on a regular basis. However, the vast majority of our physical and digital collections are accessible on our Facebook page.

In an alliance with Deep Zoom Chattanooga, Tom Tryniski and the Tennessee State Library and Archives, in the Spring of 2018, we successfully crowdfunded an effort to make over 6,000 digitized pages of historic local newspapers available online.  More content will be added in the first quarter of 2019.

The majority of our funding comes from the public. But we’ve also run into project sponsorship opportunities from The UNFoundation, EPB, River City Company, and Epson.

We need your continued support to grow. Please give a gift of $10 or more to help sustain Picnooga’s future cataloging and preservation efforts.

$2,552 of $4,000 raised
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Personal Info

Donation Total: $20

A project of the Chattanooga Maker Center/Museum of Industry.  Mailing Address: PO Box 326, Lookout Mountain, Tennessee 37350 Tel: (423) 972-0209