February 21, 2010
By Jessica Pritchard
We have recently been rounding up online oral history projects on AHA Today, rediscovering projects we’ve posted about before as well as unearthing new resources. You can read part one here and part two here.
Back from Iraq: The Veterans’ Stories Project
Penn State sought to capture veteran stories from their student body, so they offered “Narrative, Oral History, New Media Technologies”, a class that encouraged veterans to become storytellers by sharing their firsthand experiences from the current Iraq War. The class “utilized the veterans interviewing veterans model not only because the veterans share certain experiences and perspectives that give them a unique rapport with one another, but also because we wanted to empower those who have lived through a certain experience to become the storytellers of that experience.”
Hmong Oral History Project
Paul Hillmer, an associate history professor at Concordia University (St. Paul, MN), conducted 25 interviews with the Hmong people, an Asian ethnic group from the mountains of Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Burma. This oral history project “works to connect the younger generations of Hmong and the broader communities in which many Hmong live, with resources describing Hmong cultures in Laos, the Secret War in southeast Asia, and stories of the Hmong immigrant experience, facilitating greater intercultural and intergenerational understanding.”
Mass. Memories Road Show
The Massachusetts Memories Road Show is not so much an oral history project as a gallery of photographs with storytelling comments from all over the state. The site explains the road show as “a state-wide digital humanities project that documents Massachusetts history through family photographs and stories.” Users can search these photographs and stories one of two ways: by decade (1890s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s) or by individual road show and special interest exhibits.
USC Shoah Foundation Institute
Steven Spielberg started the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation to preserve the memories and experiences from those who were witness to and survived from the Holocaust. Unlike other oral history projects, the University of Southern California (USC) Shoah Foundation Institute captures these stories through video, creating visual history testimonies. The site explains, “While most of those who gave testimony were Jewish survivors, the Foundation also interviewed homosexual survivors, Jehovah’s Witness survivors, liberators and liberation witnesses, political prisoners, rescuers and aid providers, Roma and Sinti (gypsy) survivors, survivors of Eugenics policies, and war crimes trials participants.” Please note that the site only offers clips from its archive of nearly 52,000 visual history testimonies; however, you can use the archive access locator to find the nearest archive that will allow you to watch the testimonies in their entirety.