In 2014, Picnooga inaugurated a new layer of Chattanooga history that would be searchable with minimum barriers to accessibility. After several years of curation, our vision is being realized.
We bring local history to the surface and make it available to everyone.
As a dominant advocate and appreciable source of local history, Picnooga has been essential to the fabric of Chattanooga’s history and its cultural footprint. Over the past six years, we’ve reached millions of desktops by utilizing social media and the internet as a virtual window into Chattanooga’s past. We’re not only a resource, and an aggregate of local history, but an active collecting effort that has accumulated over 3,250 historic photos and artifacts. Thanks to tireless detective work and research, we’ve uncovered scarce and one-of-a-kind treasures that might otherwise have been lost, misplaced, or discarded.
We are seeking to raise $15,000 to enable us to continue carrying out our mission through March 2021. This effort is on an entirely voluntary basis so there are no salaries to be paid out. $15,000 is about double Picnooga’s average annual budget, but, because of the growth in the collection, there’s an immediate need to advance our preservation best practices.
Where will the money be spent? How will it be used?
Our secure archival space is free, but it does require new shelving and better overall organization. Also needed are special archival enclosures for about 1,000 negatives, and a small refrigerator for cold storage of negatives and film.
We are currently cataloging our collection and will be making part of it searchable online by the end of 2020.
We accept donations of photographs, but we also aggressively network, and hunt and pick unique items that help present Chattanooga’s story from a very inclusive perspective. (An armchair version of ‘American Pickers’, but applying to Chattanooga history). This is the only way to directly attract back local historical items that have strayed from the area. We also work with local resources to uncover significant and valuable finds.
How do we currently serve the community?
Picnooga has been a free resource to anyone with internet access via a computer or a mobile device. Free accessibility has been a key component of the project, and the internet allows us to deliver information with minimal barriers at a low operating cost.
We have 41,000 followers on Facebook, and several thousand more on Instagram and Flickr.
We provide historical reference assistance to the public as needed, and supply images from our archive to nonprofit, for-profit, and educational projects.
We’ve built a large online footprint of local history, and have become a known authority brand for history in the region.
Picnooga has teamed up with other history projects, and co-launched projects like chattanooganewspapers.org, which provides free keyword searching of over 30,000 historical newspaper pages from the Chattanooga area.
Why the need to acquire historical photographs and other relevant objects?
There has been a decline in donations to libraries and museums as the public has become more likely to try to monetize family possessions that have lost personal meaning or reference. This development is a result of the online auction economy where historical significance may well be a valuable commodity, and there are many private collectors ready to buy and trade. Over the years we’ve learned only to acquire items that meet certain criteria of rarity, or help fill out the stories of other objects we’ve collected in the past. During this journey, we’ve connected with various sellers and collectors who are respectful of our mission, and we most always receive a fair deal. As with any commodity, the market has its highs and lows, and over the last year, the trend has been a bit higher.
How much do you want from me?
We realize this is a very difficult time to be asking for money, so we are only asking for $5 as a minimum. If 3,000 of our 40,000+ followers donate just $5 each – we’d be there!
If you are a company or organization with a larger gift in mind, let’s chat.
Thank you for your consideration and for choosing to support local history.
Picnooga is a 501(c)(3) organization. Mailing Address: PO Box 389, Lookout Mountain, Tennessee 37350 Tel: (423) 972-0209