Humanities Tennessee, an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, has awarded Memphis Heritage a grant to partially fund a project entitled “The Past, Present, and Future of Memphis as Illustrated by the Photographs of Don Newman” (also known as Newman to Now). Don Newman was a local photographer who captured thousands of iconic images of Memphis structures and streetscapes during the 1940s-60s.  Many of Mr. Newman’s images show beloved buildings that have been demolished or changed drastically since the time of the photographs. A portion of this collection is available at  Prints of Newman’s images can be purchased directly from the website or by calling 901-272-2727, with proceeds benefiting Memphis Heritage.

The overall goal of the Newman to Now project is to illustrate processes behind continuity and change in Memphis’ built environment. It will include a digital exhibit as well as accompanying lesson plans to be developed by Shelby County School teachers. The digital exhibit will include photographs taken by Don Newman juxtaposed with contemporary photographs of the same sites taken by local photographer Gary Walpole.  Additionally, it will include oral histories, newspaper articles and other primary sources, and video narration by Shelby County Historian Jimmy Ogle.  The accompanying lesson plans will focus on civic and architectural aspects of the evolution of Memphis’ built environment.

Memphis Heritage will host a kick-off event for the Newman to Now project at The Arcade Restaurant (540 S Main) on September 30 at 2:30 pm.  This is a fitting site to launch the “Past, Present, and Future of Memphis,” as The Arcade is itself an iconic Memphis institution photographed by Don Newman.  This event will include an overview of the project and a question and answer session with project personnel.  Departing from The Arcade at 3:30, Shelby County Historian Jimmy Ogle will lead a walking tour on and around Main Street, which will feature several sites photographed by Don Newman.

Special thanks to Emily Cohen who is serving as grant coordinator for this exciting project!