A 1949 image of a Chattanooga Lookouts game has begun deteriorating. (Photo: Chattanooga History Center)

Despite only raising 30 percent of their fundraising goal during a recent campaign, a local online history organization is determined to launch a digital history archive in 2017.

Picnooga has only raised $5,000 thus far, but founder David Moon said they still hope to hit the goal of $18,160. 

“Additional monies for infrastructure fell short, but we’ll be fundraising throughout the year in hopes to reach our original goal,” Moon said.

In October, Picnooga launched the campaign with the idea of creating a free and open resource for historical photographs, collectibles and artifacts from Chattanooga’s colorful past. Currently, Picnooga maintains a collection of more than 1,100 items, including 600 glass plate negatives depicting 19th-century life in Chattanooga

As funding becomes available, Picnooga will also seek to help catalog thousands of images from the Chattanooga News-Free Press collection, maintained by the Chattanooga History Center. The CHC recently announced they would begin reducing their overall collection in order to strengthen the core collection.

Moon said cataloging and digitally archiving many of those items/photos is important.

Many negatives have begun to lose quality because of improper storage. (Photo: Chattanooga History Center)

“Many of the negatives are damaged and in the distant past were stored in an environment not conducive to preservation,” he said. “Once a negative starts to deteriorate, you can only slow down its decomposition. To digitize these images is mission critical for us.”

Moon has asked Kerrie Iyoob to join the Picnooga team as collections manager. She moved from Boulder, Colorado, to Chattanooga in May and offered to help with the collection.

Iyoob holds a master’s degree in museum and field studies.

“I love the entire process of caring for, preserving, cataloging and ultimately sharing the objects and the stories and history they provide,” she said. “Since I am a recent transplant, I am most excited to learn more about the history of Chattanooga and the surrounding areas.”

Iyoob said she will be tasked with keeping detailed records and catalogs of the entire collection.

“For my part, I will be establishing a numbering system, assisting with policy and protocol writing to ensure Picnooga has a consistent plan in place,” she said. “There are multiple people involved in this process, so it’s a group effort.”

Picnooga will acquire a database in which collections will be cataloged and digitized. Moon said the database will serve as a platform for the forthcoming digital museum.

“Additional funding would allow us to tackle another large collection of negatives spanning more than 60 years of local history,” Moon said. “We’re still in the process of strategy now. We’ll be shooting for the end of February to start the rescanning process and data entry into the database.”

According to the Picnooga website, portions of the online collection may be available in the summer.

Updated @ 1:38 p.m. on 1/30/17 to correct a factual error: Kerrie’s last name is Iyoob, not Lyoob, as originally reported. 

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