Picnooga, an online history organization, is raising funding to create a digital history museum for the Chattanooga area.
Once launched, the museum will be "a free and open resource" for historical photographs, collectibles and artifacts from Chattanooga's colorful past. If funded, the museum is expected to launch in June.
The organization is seeking $18,160, which will be used for various aspects of the museum, including photography equipment, scanning equipment and data storage. Specifically, organizers are asking for 1,000 contributions of $18.16 each.
Click here to donate. Picnooga will offer donor perks throughout the campaign.
"Because it's all about the past and history, I don't think people realize how cutting-edge Picnooga and the project [are]," founder David Moon said. "There's less than a handful of organizations or initiatives that use crowdsourcing to gather its collections, and none quite like Picnooga."
Moon said digitizing history will not only preserve that story for Chattanoogans—as was the intention of the former Chattanooga History Center—but it will also help increase exposure outside of Chattanooga.
Currently, Picnooga maintains a collection of more than 1,100 items, including 600 glass plate negatives depicting 19th-century life in Chattanooga. All those items would be available digitally using a product called CONTENTdm—the same archiving technology used by the Tennessee State Library and Archives, University of Tennessee, museums, libraries and universities.
"Through CONTENTdm, our history can feed directly into other history collections websites," he said. "I get a lot of feedback from scholars and professionals that wish that they could use crowdsourcing like we have, but are confined and are just barely catching up to digitizing their existing collections."
From the campaign page:
With help of public support and a handful of dedicated local history enthusiasts and volunteers, we’ve already been successful in saving and sharing thousands of items that would have been lost or locked away in archives with limited accessibility. This solution helps us advance our mission to provide an ongoing channel to exhibit and learn about local history. Our collection will ... appeal to the public, school-aged children, genealogy enthusiasts and researchers from around the world.
We understand the financial shortcomings of the Chattanooga History Center. Offering a digital solution to connect with history is far less expensive than a brick-and-mortar institution. And although one day we’ll require a physical archive to help preserve our collection, digital exhibits will always be the primary focus of our model. This crowdfunding campaign will hopefully serve as a proof of concept and allow us to pursue funding through sponsorships, [and] local and national grants.