A year into their efforts to promote and preserve Chattanooga’s history, the folks behind Picnooga are ready for the next phase.
But they need your help.
Recently, the organization has teamed up with the Chattanooga History Center and private collectors to bring more content to the page. They have also used funding to purchase several acquisitions from websites such as eBay and elsewhere.
And a new partnership with the Tennessee Archive of Moving Images and Sound in Knoxville will allow users to donate their old film/home movie footage of Chattanooga.
TAMIS specializes in restoring and digitally preserving audio and video specific to the history of East Tennessee. Already, they’ve amassed an archive of more than 5,000 reels and videotapes. Some of the footage features Chattanooga attractions such as Rock City.
The partnership between Picnooga and TAMIS will allow any donated footage from Chattanooga to be used on the Picnooga site.
But first, the footage has to be found. And Picnooga founder David Moon said he hopes people start donating whatever they have.
"Anything that’s part of the Chattanooga story is relevant—anything like parade footage, Lookout Mountain, exterior footage of neighborhoods, and anything with architecture, buildings and such," Moon said.
Picnooga and TAMIS are also seeking archival footage of commercials, television programs, industrial training videos and newsreels relevant to the area.
If accepted, the footage will be donated and kept at the TAMIS archives. The donor will receive a digital copy, as will Picnooga and the Chattanooga History Center.
Bradley Reeves, film archivist and manager of TAMIS, examines the film and digitally preserves the content relevant to East Tennessee history. But it’s now or never, he said.
"The people who have this stuff are leaving us every day," he said. "Film has officially been off the radar for home movie use since 1980. It’s crumbling, the colors are fading away, and nobody knows what to do with it."
The team will take film in any condition, lubricate it, clean it up and splice if necessary. Each reel can take up to a day to transfer, and proper preservation requires capturing as much information as possible from each frame.
"Some of our earliest films go back to 1915 in Knoxville, and we also have film of Chattanooga in the 1930s," he said. "Chattanooga, being the town that it was and is, [had] enough money there that folks could afford movie cameras."
Reeves said that behind the Great Smoky Mountains, Chattanooga’s Rock City is the second-most documented place in home movies for East Tennessee.
Click here for more information on donations.
Moon said fans of the website can expect to start seeing some of the footage soon.
"Photos have always been kind of the basis for the project, but I’ve always envisioned collecting and digitizing layers of media," he said.