Our mission:

“The Chattanooga Maker Center/Museum of Industry uses education to interpret Chattanooga’s industrial history through the narrative of its culturally diverse workforce.”

The museum:

About one-half of the permanent exhibition space will present a linear view of Chattanooga’s industrial history. One-fourth will be dedicated to the Downtown (Lost) Chattanooga’s story with a look at the present and future innovations in the Scenic City. And another one-fourth will feature Women at Work, presenting the history of women’s roles in Chattanooga’s workforce. A second-floor temporary exhibition space will be left as a flexible area for special programs and exhibits.

Our programs:

The Legacy Workforce Project (The Story Lab)
An aggressive StoryCorps® effort to document oral histories with an accessible online archive of video and audio interviews.

Legacy Forward and the Continuous Field Trip

  • A local history curriculum: Classroom, on-site, and year-round virtual education for Chattanooga schools and students, designed by local educators.
  • Leadership programs to inspire innovation in young people by connecting them with local entrepreneurs and business innovators.
  • Our accessibility promise: Every student in the Chattanooga Public School System will be provided unlimited free admission to the museum. Our pledge ensures that students, regardless of their economic situation, will be given an equal opportunity to be inspired by local history.
  • Opportunities for higher education like internships.

Public History Makers
A quarterly micro-grant awarded to encourage a variety of public history projects throughout Chattanooga.

Digital South
A state-of-the-art lab space offering low-cost full and self-serve digitization services for other museums, historical societies, libraries, businesses, and educational institutions.

An annual History Unconference

An unconference is an event run by participants where attendees set the agenda for what’s discussed and lead the sessions and workshops to create an environment of innovation and productive discussion.

The Chattanooga History Unconference will serve as a forum to discuss broader topics about local history, like preservation, and inspire actionable community projects and causes.

Community Events, Membership drives, and Fundraisers

  • Annual and special events that connect with the public and residents in the Innovation District community to build awareness and raise funds for the Chattanooga Maker Center activities.
  • A return of the historic Spring Festival street fair.

Online Archive and Crowdsourcing
An accessible repository for all collections.

Gift shop
A small gift shop with souvenirs and apparel made locally by the arts and maker community.

Why is a Maker Center/Museum of Industry important?

  • Chattanooga’s narrative has mostly emphasized its local pioneers, politicians, business influencers, and the Civil War timeline. The Chattanooga Maker Center will significantly expand and make accessible a more diverse narrative to grow Chattanooga’s historical footprint.
  • Preserving oral histories: Every year, we’re losing important first-hand stories about Chattanooga’s industrial story and the history of Downtown.
  • It’ll create respectful conversations that will positively affect the future of Chattanooga’s evolving story.
  • Exposes local history directly to a young audience.
  • Provides an interpretive public exhibition venue for assets kept in archives by libraries, institutions, and private collectors.
  • Keeps history top-of-mind: Provides an accessible channel for education and incubates new public historically centered initiatives.
  • Economic impact: Museums in Tennessee contribute $954m into the local economy (Oxford Economics, IMPLAN, 2017), and generates $204.8m in taxes ($55.5m local taxes). Regardless of political persuasion, 89% of Americans believe that museums provide important economic impacts back to their communities (AAM’s Museums & Public Opinion 2017).

Proposed Location

  • The Historic Purse Building, 1001 Lindsay Street at the corner of Lindsay and E. 10th Streets.
  • Currently owned by the City of Chattanooga and used as the Municipal Water Company for the past 80 years.
  • Two stories with basement
  • 8,500 sq ft
  • Built in 1911
  • Current building tax assessment: $262k
  • A soon-to-be surplus property.

Benefits

  • Walking distance from Market Street and the new Miller Park.
  • One block proximity to the Bessie Smith Cultural Center and close to Jazzanooga, The Chattanooga Public Library, Causeway, SoundCorps, and ArtsBuild.
  • Located inside of the Innovation District, the Chattanooga Maker Center aligns with its Framework for the Future.

History
Built in about 1911 as a commercial printer by Robert P. Purse.

  • Preservation: Establish as a Historic Landmark within the Stone Fort Historic District
  • Over time, a complete renovation with preservation in mind, returning as many interior and exterior areas to its industrial appearance.

Mailing Address: PO Box 326, Lookout Mountain, Tennessee 37350 Tel: (423) 972-0209