History center remains viable and other letters to the editors

History center remains viable and other letters to the editors

February 7th, 2013 in Opinion Letters

History center remains viable

In a recent Free Press editorial, questions arose over whether the Chattanooga History Center (CHC) was going to happen.

I write to assure you that the CHC is happening. It is happening as I write this letter. Physically, actually, really. With the help of more than 350 contributors, in our well-organized, ongoing capital campaign, we have raised $8.25 million of our $10.5 million goal. Our construction crew is finishing the infrastructure for a 21st century interpretive experience.

In April, they will turn the galleries over to our specialists from Ralph Appelbaum Associates (their resume includes the U. S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Newseum) to fabricate and install our exhibits. By year's end we -- with the help of historians, film makers, educators, and community members -- will open one of the nation's most innovative history experiences.

But more than being a showcase of Chattanooga's fascinating history, the CHC is where we will learn our many pasts and how to engage more thoughtfully in making our future. It is where students will learn citizenship through programs tailored to meet Georgia and Tennessee curriculum standards. And it is where we can teach others from across the nation how to energize their own communities.

As the campaign to attract Volkswagen demonstrated, the intangibles provided by access to cultural resources contribute significantly to decisions businesses make in choosing where to locate. Moreover, the CHC will draw new cultural heritage visitors, many of whom would never consider venturing downtown, to the riverfront. These types of visitors stay 53 percent longer and spend 36 percent more money than other tourists.

You can follow our progress on Facebook and our website, chattanoogahistory.org. Join us in exploring who we are, where we have been and where we can go.

Dr. Daryl Black, Executive Director, Chattanooga History Center

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