The vision for the new Chattanooga History Center is not one of relics and artifacts with descriptions of particular eras of history. Instead, the new model will be about topics, storytelling and interactive media.
Architectural rendering of the new Chattanooga History Center.
"We didn't want this to be your grandfather's museum," Black said. Visitors will see the difference through use of high and low technology, he said. They will use interactive touch screens and audio storytelling to spur conversation and learning about regional history. There also will be an option for visitors to interview and record stories about their own loved ones who live in Chattanooga.
Three main topics addressed in the center are the Cherokee Nation, the Civil War and blacks and segregation. But the stories highlighting those issues won't just be retreads of history looking at specific events and people, Black said.
"We're thinking through a new model on how we can do a history museum," he said.
The designers of the renovation see the center as a unique part of Chattanooga.
Rick Sobel, project director for New York City-based Ralph Applebaum Associates Inc., said the new center will be a "museum for the people."
As a native Chattanoogan, I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to visiting the new museum once it's finished. Chattanooga is a city rich in history, and a museum like this, situated in the heart of activity on the downtown riverfront, reflects well on the "Scenic City's" forward-thinking vision about the past. Click here to read more of this story published in The Chattanooga Times Free Press.