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Featured Institutional Member: Maria Rogers Oral History Program

The Maria Rogers Oral History Program (MROHP) is housed in the Carnegie Branch Library for Local Histoy, Boulder, Colorado. MROHP curates interviews that build an understanding of life in the city and county of Boulder. Narrators may be chosen for their accomplishments or their participation in the community, along with the ability to lend detail to a historic picture. MROHP also encourages special collections, where multiple narrators with different perspectives help flesh out a topic of historic significance.

Our program is named for a former manager, Maria Rogers, who started collecting interviews in 1976. To date we have more than 2,000 oral histories, most of which are available through the program’s online archive, Oralhistory.boulderlibrary.org. We have interviews about: pioneers and recent immigrants; mining and agriculture; mountain towns; open space and city planning; Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant; business; science; arts and education; and major events, such as the Fourmile Canyon fire and the Flood of 2013. A cohort of volunteers (30+) help with all aspects of the oral history process (interviewing, transcribing, archiving, etc.). Citizen volunteers keep the program humming!

Cyns Nelson, Program Manager

Oralhistory.boulderlibrary.org

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Featured Institutional Member: Middle Tennessee State University Public History Program

Middle Tennessee State University, located 30 miles southeast of Nashville, offers oral history as a concentration in the Public History Program. MTSU was in the first wave of American universities to embrace the study of public history, initiating an M.A. concentration in 1976 and a Ph.D. in Public History in 2005. Today, the graduate program offers concentrations in several fields of practice: oral history, historic preservation, museum management, archival management, and public archaeology.

MTSU’s Public History Program is grounded in the discipline of history. Students receive an education that integrates historical methods and scholarship with professional development and practical experience. Those pursuing an oral history concentration receive instruction in theory and methods as well as extensive field training.

Oral history courses are taught by Dr. Martha Norkunas, who is active in the Oral History Association. Dr. Norkunas’s research and teaching specialties include the intersection of history and memory in personal narratives; the construction of race, class, and gender in life history narratives; individual and collective memory; and active listening.

Learn more at http://www.mtsu.edu/publichistory.

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Featured Institutional Member Spotlight: The Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at the University of Florida

The Samuel Proctor Oral History Program is the official oral history program of the University of Florida, in Gainesville, Florida, featuring over 5,000 interviews and more than 150,000 pages of transcribed material in the SPOHP archives and UF Digital Collections.

SPOHP’s primary mission is to gather, preserve, and promote living histories of individuals from all walks of life. SPOHP engages in active research projects designed to broaden the scope and scale of historical knowledge with major projects, including the African American History Project, Veterans History Project, Mississippi Freedom Project, and Latina/o Diaspora in the Americas Project. Staff and students strive to make collections accessible to as wide an audience as possible through written transcripts, digital archives, podcasts, radio broadcasts, and public programs.

SPOHP also teaches the craft and intellectual traditions of oral history through university seminars and community-based workshops. In addition, SPOHP consults on an ongoing basis with local historians, civic leaders, and educators in Florida and beyond who are interested in initiating oral history projects in their towns and municipalities, and engages in scholarly and educational life in Florida and around the country through public history programs, academic conferences, and scholarly collaborations.

The Samuel Proctor Oral History Program: One Community, Many Voices.

Featured Institutional Member: Baylor University Institute for Oral History

Located in Central Texas, USA, the Institute for Oral History is a freestanding research department within Baylor University’s Division of Academic Affairs. The Institute was created in 1970 by and for Baylor faculty from across academic disciplines. Over its forty-four years, the Institute has maintained a position at the forefront of best oral history practices. Together with our interviewees, we document memories representing the diversity of American society and encompassing varied topics of social and historical significance. Our oral history research assists scholars in such specialized areas as religion and culture, civil rights, music and theater, historical preservation, rural life, US veterans’ history, and women’s studies, as well as selected topics in economics, law, education, and politics. In addition, our oral history collection provides essential primary information for research concerning the history of Baylor University, Baptists, and Central Texas.

We encourage oral history scholarship among seasoned scholars through our Charlton Research Grant and novices, as well, through our Community Oral History Grant. Our outreach to new and developing oral historians includes training workshops on the local, regional, and national level, plus our popular Workshop on the Web and biannual online, interactive workshops. We share the outcomes of our research through publications and public programming.

Having provided leadership among organized oral historians since our inception, the Institute for Oral History is a sponsoring member of the Oral History Association, hosts the Texas Oral History Association, assists H-Oralhist, and participates in the International Oral History Association.

Learn more at http://www.baylor.edu/oralhistory.

Featured Institutional Member: Oklahoma Oral History Research Program

The Oklahoma Oral History Research Program (OOHRP) was founded in 2007 as part of the Oklahoma State University Library, with the goal of documenting and making accessible the history of Oklahoma and OSU through oral history interviews. In addition to conducting interviews staff members speak to classes, offer instruction and lead workshops. Undergraduate and graduate students are welcome to meet with staff also in regards to oral history methodology, design or technical considerations.

The narratives recorded in our collections help to fill gaps in the written cultural and intellectual history by preserving the experiences of both ordinary and extraordinary Oklahomans. Projects focus on various topics including women, farm families, Cooperative Extension educators, Oklahoma native artists and gallery owners, Germans from Russia, African American heritage, circus operators and performers, OSU alumni and supporters, and figures in Oklahoma history such as Angie Debo, Henry Bellmon, and Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel.

Interviews are transcribed and made accessible online through the OOHRP’s website: www.library.okstate.edu/oralhistory/

Featured Member Institution: The American West Center

Founded in 1964, the American West Center is the oldest regional studies center of its type. Oral history has been at the core of the Center’s work from the beginning. The University of Utah was one of only six institutions to receive a grant from the tobacco heiress Doris Duke to record the oral histories of Native peoples. Over a five-year period beginning in 1966, AWC staff conducted interviews in six western states. Ultimately the Doris Duke Indian Oral History collection totaled 1,458 interviews and as of today the AWC has conducted 2,000 total interviews with Native peoples. The center has also recorded the experiences of other ethnic groups beginning with Japanese Americans and Utah’s Latino/a citizens. In 1999, the AWC launched a major Veterans oral history initiative that now includes interviews with veterans of World War II, Korea, Iraq, and Afghanistan. In July 2014 the Center will launch a new Veterans Vietnam-specific collection. Other oral history programs included the University of Utah history project, Utah Outdoor Recreation Oral Histories, Pacific Worlds, Utah Environmentalism, Polio survivors, and the Center’s newest project, Saline Stories: An Oral History of Great Salt Lake. All told, the American West Center has recorded, processed, and preserved over 7,000 oral history interviews over the past half century.

Visit their website: http://awc.utah.edu/

Featured Member Institution: Minnesota Historical Society

Since 1948, the Minnesota Historical Society has used oral history to document Minnesota’s past and present. The Oral History Collection of the Minnesota Historical Society includes more than 1600 interviews with Minnesotans from across the state. Our collection deals with a wide range of issues from government and business history to labor and LGBT issues.
 
Since 2000 the Oral History Department has focused on immigrant communities in Minnesota. Having recently partnered with Asian and Latino groups we are now working with the Somali population in Minnesota to preserve their stories and document their contributions to Minnesota history.
 
We also serve the state of Minnesota by teaching oral history and by awarding grants to local organizations.
 
Our entire collection of oral histories is available to listen, watch, and read online at our ‘Voices of Minnesota’ website http://collections.mnhs.org/voicesofmn/