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The front entrance of the new UTC library on Friday, January 9, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tenn. (Maura Friedman/Times Free Press)
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Chattanooga history has a new home at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Library.

UTC has announced it will take on the more than 7,600 objects, nearly 14,000 photos and a "huge number" of text- and-paper items intended for the failed Chattanooga History Center. The proposed state-of-the art museum, to be located next to the Tennessee Aquarium, ran out of money before it opened. Its collection sits in the former center and a city warehouse on Watkins Street.

In January, history center officials were still seeking answers for what to do with the all the documents and artifacts they had received. The collection includes more than 100 years of personal and family papers, photographic materials, moving images, books, business records, periodicals, textiles, and physical objects.

"This collection represents our city's history and heritage," said Theresa Liedtka, dean of UTC Library Administrative Services. "The collection has tremendous scholarly and local history value. It is the desire of both the UTC Library and the Chattanooga Public Library to work together to curate these important elements of Chattanooga's history and culture and to make them available to citizens of Chattanooga and the world."

"We are looking forward to collaborating on ways to safeguard and celebrate these historic archives so they can be enjoyed for generations," Corinne Hill, director of the Chattanooga Publc Library, said.

Historical periods covered in the in the collection include the Cherokee Nation, the Civil War and Reconstruction, Civil Rights Era sit-ins and demonstrations and the city's post-industrial renewal.

The collection includes items from prominent Chattanooga families such as the Brocks, Crutchfields and Luptons and artifacts associated with Coca-Cola, Engel Stadium, Fairyland and Wheland Foundry.

"We are going to try to keep it all in one place and in a preservation environment," Liedtka said. "We are in the process of rearranging our existing climate-controlled storage facility on the fourth floor of the new UTC library."

The library will not need renovations to handle the project, but it will use storage space and extra shelving, she said.

Due to limited space, only a few pieces of the collection will be on display in the library, she said. However, materials will be available to view online.

"Long-term we plan to work with the Public Library on exhibitions and loans, displaying some and making items available on loan to others," Liedtka said.

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