By Steve Holland, The Washington TimesFor the last several years, a group of photographers have been photographing historic buildings in Chattanooga and surrounding areas, in an effort to create a digital archive of the city’s history.
Now, they have begun digitizing the images in an attempt to give a historical perspective on Chattanooga’s history, as well as some insights into the city and its residents.
A team of photographer/architects has been scanning historic photographs of the historic American Museum for the past six months.
They’ve identified several buildings that have been on display for more than 50 years, and the group has scanned some 3,000 photos of them.
The team has digitized a number of buildings in the American Historic Landmark Gallery, located in the city center, as part of a project titled “The Oldest Photographs of Chattanooga.”
The group hopes to continue scanning historical buildings and photographing them in the future, but there’s a catch.
For the next few years, the group won’t be able to scan or photograph historic buildings that aren’t currently on display.
“If we do scan the buildings, they’re gone,” said Matt B. Smith, a photographer with the group.
Smith said the goal is to eventually digitize all the historic photos that have survived in a digital format, but that his group has no idea when that might happen.
Smith and his colleagues have already scanned and digitized some 1,000 of the buildings that they’re interested in, but have had to scan and photograph some of the remaining images in order to keep up with the digital scanning process.
Smith was able to find out what’s in store for the group in a letter from the museum.
“We have some really good things in store,” Smith wrote.
“We have an entire archive of photographs of buildings we’ve scanned from a variety of places, and we have a collection of old photo books, but the real story here is the preservation of the images.”
Smith said that his team is going to continue to scan historic photos in hopes of making a digital version of the collections.
“The photos are just part of the history,” Smith said.
“You can’t have an electronic version without scanning the photographs.
The photographs were part of history, and they need to be preserved.
We’ve got to do the best we can with what we have.”
Smith hopes to scan the remaining historic buildings, including the American Historical Museum, the Museum of Science, and Chattanooga Museum of Art.
He hopes that the digitization of the photos will also allow the group to make copies of the originals.
“I think we’ll have a very nice digital archive,” Smith added.
“I think it’s a big part of our future, because we’re going to have a digital library.”
Smith says that the group hopes that digital scanning of historic buildings will allow them to make new collections that can better represent the history Chattanooga has been able to preserve.
“It’s a very beautiful place to be in,” Smith told The Washington State Journal.
“It’s an interesting place.
It’s very different from a lot of other places in the country.
We’re not in the ‘hood anymore.
We have a city that’s thriving.
We don’t have the same kinds of problems as a lot and we can still do something about it.”