We bring local history to the surface and make it accessible to everyone.
Founded in January of 2014, Picnooga launched as a grassroots effort to crowdsource Chattanooga history. Today, we’re a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization committed to our community as a dominant resource representing history and culture in the ‘Scenic City’ and its historical vicinity.
We preserve, protect, and make accessible a physical and digital archive of historical photographs, paper ephemera, 3D objects, and film that surface as a result of our persistent search effort. Chattanooga is the largest mid-sized city in the United States without a history center or museum, so we’ve made our collection open and free to view through our social channels and, most recently, our website. Physical source material can be accessed by appointment to educators, students, and community projects. In the future, we plan to make source material open to everyone.
In the past, Chattanooga’s historical footprint projected a very narrow view from select public collections gathered more than half a century ago. We plan to broaden the narrative beyond the Civil War era and focus on Chattanooga’s social and industrial evolution through a tolerant and inclusive lens.
Our geographical interests include Hamilton County, Tennessee; Lookout Mountain; and the most northern connecting areas of Northwest Georgia. We align ourselves with area nonprofit organizations like the Bandy Heritage Center for Northwest Georgia to ensure that out-of-interest donations get redirected to only qualified institutions.
Re-collecting the past
Because we’ve only revealed very little of what remains in private hands, expanding our collection is a priority. Picnooga leads an aggressive pursuit to uncover obscured and inaccessible area history. Our past activities have led us to significant finds that would otherwise be lost or locked away in private collections with little or no public access.
We rely on public support to donate photographs, ephemera, old film, and other historical artifacts to fill in the Chattanooga story.
Picnooga is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, so all contributions are tax-deductible. Click here to see a list of items we’re most interested in inducting into our archive.
We occasionally acquire historically significant and one-of-a-kind photography, artifacts, and entire collections. Please contact us for more information.
Storytelling and education
Picnooga has heavily relied on direct public engagement to help identify and provide supplemental history through sharing our collection on social media and the Internet. This crowdsourcing method to aggregate new information has been a cornerstone of our efforts and helps us interpret more in-depth stories about the items in our archives.
Shortly, we’ll be providing educational opportunities centered on a virtually accessible curriculum for the classroom and homeschool environments.
Who supports us?
Picnooga has been the largest ongoing crowdfunded project in the region. From 2014 to 2020, we’ve primarily funded by the public’s enthusiasm and need to access local history easily. Now, we’re seeking other funding opportunities like corporate giving, sponsorships, and grants to help us do more.
Click here to sponsor Chattanooga history.