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Pre-Conference Workshops

The OHA will have pre-conference workshops on Wednesday, October 16. Workshops will cost $40 for members and $50 for non-members, with the exception of the workshop sponsored by AncestryProGenealogists, which will be $30 for members and $40 for non-members.

Attendees can sign up to attend the workshops, without attending the whole of the conference. Registration information is available here.

8:30 AM – 12 PM An Introduction to Oral History – Jeff Corrigan

8:30 AM – 12 PM Radio Storytelling:  Scripting and Editing and Telling Stories in Sound? – Molly Graham

8:30 AM – 12 PM Oral History for Genealogists, Part 1: “Tell Me About the Old Days, Grandma!” New Technologies and Enduring Best Practices for Capturing Your Family’s Oral Histories – Sue Verhoef, Roger Bell, and Daniel Horowitz Garcia

1:00 PM – 4:30 PM Intro to Video: Videography and Basic Storage – Christa Whitney

1:00 PM – 4:30 PM Protect The Value Of Your Labor: Survival Skills for Freelancing in Oral History – Liz Strong

1:00 PM – 4:30 PM Oral History for Genealogists, Part 2: Oral History and Genealogy: Partners in Storytelling – Dawne Slater and Sandy Olney *Sponsored by AncestryProGenealogists

An Introduction to Oral History

The introductory workshop serves as an informative overview to the field of oral history from initial idea through finished product. The workshop will cover specifics within three sub-categories of oral history:  Pre-Interview, Interview, and Post-Interview, including the basics of oral history, project planning, technology, interview setup, writing interview outlines, release forms, legal and ethical considerations, providing access, and a variety of available resources for further information. Additionally, the workshop will include a series of audio question and answer examples from several oral history interviews to help individuals hone interviewing skills and provoke additional discussion in the workshop.

Workshop Leader:
Jeff D. Corrigan is an academic librarian at California State University Monterey Bay. Previously he was the Oral Historian for The State Historical Society of Missouri at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He holds degrees from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Eastern Illinois University, and the University of Missouri-Columbia. His collecting areas in oral history included veterans, the environment, rural education, politics, and civil rights.

Radio Storytelling:  Scripting and Editing and Telling Stories in Sound?

Turning oral histories into radio stories means your content can reach broader and more diverse audiences. Interviews are more flexible and versatile if shared in this way. This hands-on workshop is an introduction to the basic tools and techniques for creating a radio story to share on your website, in an exhibit, or podcast.  Participants will learn about the basic equipment required to get started, professional sound recording tricks and techniques, narrative reporting, and how to gather and document the elements of a compelling radio story. We will also discuss writing for radio and scripting the podcast, in addition to voicing narration, editing, and sound production.  Finally, participants will have the opportunity to pitch their radio stories (if applicable), and find the right platforms to share their radio pieces and podcasts.

Workshop Leader:
Molly Graham is a professional oral historian and documentarian. She trained at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine where she produced the award-winning radio documentary, Besides Life Here, which has been licensed by several National Public Radio affiliates. She has her master’s degree in Library Science and Archives Management from Simmons College in Boston.

Molly is the former director of the oral history program at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum and Assistant Director of the Rutgers Oral History Archives. In 2013, she cofounded Oral History & Folklife Research, Inc., with the mission of preserving the stories, voices, and cultural traditions of Maine and beyond.

She is the project manager for the Voices Oral History Collection, where she collects, preserves and curates oral histories documenting historical environmental change and its impacts on fisheries, oceans and coasts.

Please reach out to Molly with introductions, questions and, of course, stories.

“Tell Me About the Old Days, Grandma!”  New Technologies and Enduring Best Practices for Capturing Your Family’s Oral Histories

Stories and traditions, (whether or not they are based in fact), are handed down from generation to generation in nearly every family.  Most of us recall sitting at the feet of an elderly relative while they talked about the memories they were willing to share—often long before it occurred to us to try to record them.  Now that the technology needed to capture, preserve, and publicly share those memories is inexpensive and widely available, what can we do to ensure that we do it properly? What are our responsibilities to our narrators—in this case, our family members?  How can we apply best practices in oral history to family history? Join Roger Bell, Senior Experience Manager at Family Search; Daniel Horowitz Garcia, Regional Manager at StoryCorps; and Sue VerHoef, Director of Oral History and Genealogy at the Atlanta History Center for a workshop to discuss the tools and strategies needed for navigating the intersection of oral history and family history.

Workshop Leaders:
Roger Bell has extensive experience in building and motivating teams in creating and delivering innovative, world-class products.  Prior to joining FamilySearch, Roger served as General Manager and VP of Product Management at MyHeritage USA.  He was instrumental in defining the vision and strategic direction of (now and in the creation and management of the Footnote team.  Prior to this, he was the Director of Product Management at Before joining, Roger held the following positions: Director of Product Management at Sorenson Media, Inc., Co-founder and Vice President of Product Development at Digital Harbor, Inc. and Director of Product Management at Novell/WordPerfect.

Daniel Horowitz Garcia is a historian based in Atlanta, Georgia, using history and historical research to help community organizations. Presently he serves as the regional manager for StoryCorps in Atlanta. In addition, he produces the history podcast, Change Over Time (, and specializes in oral history. Before getting his Masters in History Daniel worked in the nonprofit field. He has 20 years’ experience working on labor, environmental, criminal justice, and anti-poverty issues.

Sue VerHoef is Director of Oral History and Genealogy at the Atlanta History Center. She manages the Center’s oral history initiatives including the Veterans History Project, a collection of over 730 oral history interviews of veterans from World War II through the Global War on Terror.  She is the curator of More Than Self: Living the Vietnam War, an exhibition of oral histories, photographs, and artifacts from Vietnam veterans and civilians who supported them.  Sue creates and presents regularly scheduled genealogy workshops and programs for the History Center.  She is a graduate of Brigham Young University and the University of West Georgia.

Video for Oral History: A Crash Course in Filming and Archiving Video Interviews

So you’re thinking about making the leap to recording your oral histories in video. Where to start? As the director of a born-digital-video oral history project, Christa Whitney will present the basic issues to consider when making the switch to (or starting from scratch in) digital video. What are the main components of a good equipment kit? What are the basic rules for getting good video footage? Then, how to manage such enormous file sizes? Christa will answer these questions and more as she outlines the basics for designing a workable approach to digital video (particularly if it is new to you). As someone who started out as a one-woman-show and has trained a team of contributors to align with our standards, I am familiar with the fine line between being so intimidated you don’t try and getting in over your head. Whether you are going to be running the tech yourself, or just want to know how to talk to your tech staff, this workshop is for you.

Workshop Leader:
Christa P. Whitney is the director of the Yiddish Book Center’s Wexler Oral History Project, a growing collection of more than 900 in-depth video interviews with people of all ages and backgrounds. Full-length oral histories and curated excerpts are freely available online to all who seek a fuller understanding of the place of Yiddish in Jewish past, present, and future.  Originally from Northern California, she discovered Yiddish while studying comparative literature at Smith College. Since 2010, Christa has traveled near and far in search of Yiddish stories, gaining skills in filmmaking, video production, and archival preservation along the way.

Protect The Value Of Your Labor: Survival Skills for Freelancing in Oral History

Working in oral history is fraught with requests for unpaid work, tight budgets for ambitious projects, and clients who don’t understand oral history ethics. This workshop is designed for aspiring and seasoned freelance oral historians to come together, share their experiences, troubleshoot their concerns, and swap valuable information about fundamental tools and tricks of the trade.

This workshop will cover:

  • The first year in freelancing
  • Understanding your labor rights
  • The structure of a successful work agreement
  • And figuring out how much to charge

As the title of this workshop suggest, one of the greatest challenges of working in oral history is protecting the value of our labor. Communicating and coordinating with other oral historians is the strongest way to work toward better wages and work environments for all of us.

Participants are also encouraged to come with their own insights and questions to share, and to be ready for discussion.

Workshop Leader:
Liz Strong has served at the Project Coordinator for “Muslims in Brooklyn” at the Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS) since 2017. In this role she conducted nearly 30 oral history interviews in 10 different Brooklyn neighborhoods. She also coordinated outreach events, public programs, community partnerships, and interdepartmental collaborations at BHS. Beyond her work for BHS, she has also worked with the New York Preservation Archive Project (NYPAP) since 2015, where she lead several oral history initiatives on the history of the preservation movement in New York City. Previously, Liz was a member of the Oral History Association task force responsible for drafting the 2018 Principles & Best Practices resource, and she wrote the 2018 Columbia Center for Oral History Transcription Style Guide. Liz has worked freelance, recording life stories, since 2010. She received her MA in Oral History from Columbia University in 2015, and a BA in Narrative Arts from Oberlin College in 2009.

Oral History for Genealogists, Part 2: Oral History and Genealogy: Partners in Storytelling

*Sponsored by AncestryProGenealogists

Both oral historians and genealogists are dedicated to uncovering truth and piecing together family stories. While their methods may differ, their discoveries are complementary. In this workshop, professional researchers and interviewers/writers from AncestryProGenealogists will help participants explore the ways in which oral historians can use genealogy, and genealogists can use oral history, to achieve their common goals.

Workshop Leaders:
Dawne Slater is a senior genealogist and African American research specialist at AncestryProGenealogists in Salt Lake City, Utah. She has been a Certified Genealogist® since 1996. Dawne has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and master’s degrees in history and library science. She previously worked as a reporter for a mid-sized daily newspaper and as a genealogy reference librarian for The Genealogy Center of the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Sandy Olney is a writer and interviewer on the Publications Team at AncestryProGenealogists in Salt Lake City, Utah. She was a broadcast news reporter, assignments editor, and producer for over 20 years and a language arts teacher for a decade. Sandy has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a master’s degree in secondary education from the University of Phoenix. She is married to a television news reporter and has one daughter in law school at the University of Utah.