About the Project

David Moon began an online crowdfunded effort called Picnooga in January 2014 in an aggressive attempt to share Chattanooga’s historic photographs.  Picnooga would later evolve into the Chattanooga Historical Society in 2020.

After leaving the Historical Society in June of 2022, David has returned to the grassroots crowdfunding and crowdsourcing that made Picnooga popular.  This new effort’s mission is similar; to save old photographs and collections that would otherwise wind up in a collector’s drawer or safe, not to be seen or shared. 

We’ll share these discoveries with you, making source material available to local nonprofit partners and institutions for their perpetual care and preservation.  

The Bandy Heritage Center for Northwest Georgia in Dalton, GA, will receive items collected in the NWGA region. A Chattanooga partner is still in negotiations.

It takes an experienced eye to spot rare images of Chattanooga. The Scenic City has many blind spots in its history, like the lack of photographs of neighborhoods, Cameron Hill before urban renewal, and scenes of Black and African American culture. Hopefully, through this effort, we can continue to add to a growing public collection of local history, uncovering stories that otherwise might fade and remain undiscovered.

FAQs from the Curator

Is there enough history out there to be saved?

After nine years of acquiring from private sellers, absolutely!  I’m always surprised and sometimes in shock and awe at how many photographs and artifacts there are in public hands. There’s always something exciting and new around the corner, especially if you’re looking.

Is acquiring photographs expensive?

In most cases, no. I have realized that most sellers support the mission and are more open to negotiating a fair deal. Indeed, I’ve lost items because of price, but usually, a deal can be worked out.

Are we just supporting your addiction to Chattanooga’s history to build a private collection?

No.  Everything I’ve collected is currently in a public collection.  I’ve never been tempted to keep any items acquired by this or previous projects.

Is finding super rare and unusual old photographs of Chattanooga your superpower?

Yes. 😛

About David Moon

David Moon is native to Southern New Jersey.  He lived in the Chattanooga area from 2005 to 2012 and moved to Florida to be closer to his family.  He frequently visits the Chattanooga area.

His maternal side is from Oliver Springs, TN, and his paternal side hailed from Schenectady, NY, and Newport, RI.  

For over 20 years, David has been in marketing.  In late 2013 he was struck by the Chattanooga history bug and started the grassroots effort Picnooga on Facebook in 2014.  David has crowdfunded over $240,000 to support Chattanooga’s history and curated over 6,000 photographs, paper ephemera items, and 3D objects. His collection is on loan with the Chattanooga Historical Society. 

In 2014, Moon was awarded a micro-grant from the UNFoundation. The same year, he won an Open Spaces award with River City Company.  His work in Chattanooga has been published in many local and global publications like Mashable.com and the Daily Mail.  David has contributed his time, research, and historical assets to the Ed Johnson Project and other local projects and theatrical performances.

Today, David Moon is Executive Director of the Plant City Photo Archive in Plant City, FL.

Media Links:

Scenic Roots, Gathering Pieces Of Chattanooga’s Past – NPR

Original Glass Plate Negative Of President Benjamin Harrison In Chattanooga Found

The Great Land Sale – Rediscovered Glass Plates Negatives of Cardiff, Tennessee

Picnooga crowdfunding campaign aims to make city’s history more accessible

Lover of Chattanooga history? Project needs your help

Ask Hamilton – Underground Chattanooga: Fact Or Fiction?

Picnooga in Chattanooga searching for more historic glass plate negatives ...

Picnooga February 2014 – UNFoundation grant winner

Time traveling with Picnooga & Deep Zoom Chattanooga

Photo of Ed Johnson uncovered 112 years after Walnut Street Bridge lynching

Locals try to save Lookout Mountain’s Hardy house

What department store workers looked like in 1898

LaFayette: Library fundraiser and events celebrate Johnny Cash visit

Have a question or information about Chattanooga’s history to share? Please email me, and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.