published Monday, March 10th, 2014

Tennessee archivists to record Civil War artifacts in Cleveland

An exhibit from the Tennessee State Library and Archives is displayed during the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Signature Event held at the Chattanooga Convention Center in October 2013. Archivists will be documenting Civil War memorabilia in Bradley County this week.
An exhibit from the Tennessee State Library and Archives is displayed during the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Signature Event held at the Chattanooga Convention Center in October 2013. Archivists will be documenting Civil War memorabilia in Bradley County this week.
Photo by Dan Henry.

IF YOU GO

What: Digital archiving of Civil War memorabilia

Where: Museum Center at Five Points, 200 Inman St. E., Cleveland, TN 37311

When: Tuesday 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Those interested may call 615-741-1833 or email civilwar.tsla@tn.gov to schedule a reservation. Reservation forms and available times may be found on the Office of the Secretary of State's website at http://tn.gov/tsla/cwtn/cwtn_events.htm.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — State archivists will be on hand this week at the Museum Center at Five Points to digitally record Civil War memorabilia presented by local residents.

"The Civil War was a major event in our state's history, so we need to take appropriate steps to make sure these treasures are properly preserved for future generations," Secretary of State Tre Hargett said in a recent announcement.

The event, which will be conducted by representatives of the Tennessee State Library and Archives and the Tennessee State Museum, will use some of the recorded documents, photographs and artifacts in an online exhibit titled "Looking Back: The Civil War in Tennessee."

"It's a different way of collecting history," said Wayne Moore, assistant state archivist. "For many Tennesseans, heritage is important and people have held onto family items."

The Tennessee State Library and Archives has been conducting the program across the state for more than three years as part of the Civil War Sesquicentennial commemoration, he said. Period items have been digitally preserved in more than 50 similar recording sessions, Moore said.

The state archivists only will scan or digitally photograph items presented to them, not take possession of them, he said. Also, presenters will receive a CD recording of their items.

People who bring items to the event may learn a little bit more information about those artifacts, said Hassan Najjar, executive director of the Museum Center at Five Points.

As a bonus, the state experts will show memorabilia owners how to best care for their Civil War artifacts, he said.

"I've heard stories where people clean these wonderful items with steel brushes, and they can do so much damage," Najjar said. "They [state archivists] will show owners how to store or house their artifacts and properly preserve them."

The Civil War digital archiving program has brought forth the discovery of some amazing artifacts, Moore said.

"Some of them have been of museum- or archive-quality materials," he said.

For more information about the "Looking Back: The Civil War in Tennessee" online exhibit, go to www.tncivilwar150.org.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.

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