-by Mary Nita Bondurant and Art Chivers-
Do you have any old pictures that were taken in and around Union City or Obion County lying around your house? Or, do you know a WWII or Korean War veteran with a story to tell? If so please contact Art Chivers at Discovery Park of America. Art loves history, and especially history of Obion County. That’s the reason he joined forces with Discovery Park of America in August of 2012 as a volunteer. Initially, he worked at the Obion County Museum, helping prepare the artifact collection for transference to Discovery Park. When the park opened in November 2013, Art came on board as a docent. On any given day, he might be found in various areas of the park directing guests or providing historical information. He has a passion for photographs from the past and enjoys pairing them with current photographs to see how much things have changed—or sometimes, how much they have stayed the same!
When Art isn’t taking current pictures to compare to old photos, he is busy searching for local WWII and Korean War veterans with a story to tell. Originally, the museum contracted with a museum gallery designer, named Thinc of New York to recommend and coordinate the Oral History exhibits found in the Regional Gallery and in the Military Gallery. These days, Art scouts out the veterans himself, and DPA’s video producer, Luke Johnson, films the stories. Jennifer gets involved in the final editing process. “It takes a lot of team work to get things done at Discovery Park,” Jennifer said. “I’m fortunate to work with passionate and talented people like Art and Luke on projects like these.”
Art is a native of Obion County. His grandfather, T.D. Ozment came to Union City as the high school principal in 1928. Art has fond memories of spending time with his grandparents, looking at their old photographs and asking questions about “the way things used to be.” That’s why Art finds his job at Discovery Park so rewarding. “It is like a calling to me to work here,” Art said. “I have always had a love for the past and for a simpler way of life.” These days, Art gets to share that love with the guests at Discovery Park. It is easy to see that he enjoys what he does, and that he believes in the
park’s mission of providing educational experiences in unique and entertaining ways.
“The only problem is that I run out of material,” Art explained. He is always looking for great photographs from the past that can be compared with modern day photos to expand the “Then and Now” display in the Obion County History Exhibit. And, he is always looking for one more veteran with a good story to tell!
“If anyone has any old pictures of Union City or other Obion County towns or areas that would spark the memory of our guests, we would love to use them in our Then and Now display,” Art said. The photos will be scanned and the original returned to the owner. “Also, if you know of a veteran with a good story, we would love to film it,” Art added. Anyone who volunteers for the oral history project will receive a complimentary copy of the completed interview from the park.
To add to the collection of old photos, or to recommend a veteran for the oral history project, please contact Je
nnifer at the park at 731-885-5455 extension 26, or email Art at firstname.lastname@example.org. Discovery Park of America is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and is a unique blend of history, science, art and fun.