knoxville daily sun
knoxville news knoxville daily sun lifestyle business knoxville sports travel knoxville classifieds knoxville jobs knoxville legal notices knoxville yellow pages smoky mountains contact facebook twitter linkedin rss entertainment knoxville advertising

Tennessee State Library and Archives on the hunt for Civil War memorabilia for new exhibit

civil war
Image courtesy of Tennessee Historical Commission

More than two decades after a statewide effort to copy and catalog photographs of historical significance, the staff of the Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA) will be hitting the state's highways and byways again in search of Civil War memorabilia. The materials TSLA staff members find during their travels will be copied, archived and used to create a digital exhibit commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

During the 1980s, TSLA staff carried out a successful preservation project for historical photographs called "Looking Back at Tennessee." As part of the project, TSLA staff members and a mobile photo lab visited courthouse squares around the state to copy historically significant photographs. Citizens were offered the opportunity to bring in their old photographs to have them copied and preserved by professional archivists.

The original photos were turned to their owners, but the thousands of photo negatives collected became part of TSLA's publicly accessible holdings. Today, they form one of the most important and widely researched collections of images depicting the way Tennesseans lived, worked and played in the past.

Now, as part of an effort to promote public interest in the 150th anniversary of the Civil War in Tennessee, TSLA is offering citizens around the state the chance to contribute to a permanent record of Civil War resources.

The new initiative, called "Looking Back: The Civil War in Tennessee," will provide Tennesseans the opportunity to have their Civil War manuscripts, artifacts and photographs digitally copied and preserved for posterity without leaving their own communities. Materials collected across the state will be used to create the virtual exhibit commemorating the war in Tennessee.

Items eligible for digitization include:
• All items pertaining to the Civil War
• Letters, photographs, diaries, weapons
(swords, knives, etc.), military passes and discharges, hand-drawn maps and sketches, and uniforms.
• All items must be original (no photo- copies) and owned by the person bringing them in for digitization.
• Digital imaging (scanning and photography) will take place on site. All materials will be carefully handled in accordance with archival standards and returned to their owners.

Participants will receive:
• basic conservation supplies for their items
• digital copies of the images
• the opportunity to have their Civil War memorabilia preserved, digitized, and shared online for future generations.

TSLA staff, with the cooperation of local archivists and librarians, will digitize and provide guidance on basic conservation techniques at the locations they visit. The project provides citizens an opportunity to contribute personally to the statewide celebration of the Civil War Sesquicentennial and to honor their Civil War ancestors. In return, participants will receive free digitization services, copies of the digital images and the opportunity to have their Civil War manuscripts and artifacts preserved digitally for future generations. Additional information on the project, including a schedule of upcoming locations and eligibility guidelines, is available at Or contact Jami Awalt at (615) 253-3470 or

Published March 7, 2011, 12:24 p.m.

Share |

knoxville daily sun Knoxville Daily Sun
2011 Image Builders
User Agreement | Privacy Policy
Tennessee Civil War Memorabilia | civil war in tennessee | civil war manuscripts | civil war artifacts
Tennessee history