Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Two community approaches to oral history programs - #oralhistory

I'm always keeping an eye open to see what other community organizations and towns are doing with oral history and the collection and sharing of local stories.

Today, two different oral history projects ended up in my inbox, and I figured I would share them.

The first is from the community of Waterford, Ontario. Local freelance writer Brenda Dredge has been collecting local stories and writing them up in the community newspaper. In a February 27th article entitled "Oral history of bygone Waterford businesses," Dredge documents how she sat down with two residents, Bob and Marg Mason, to talk about the history of small businesses in the Southern Ontario town. She writes,
"While I have always known Waterford was once a thriving little business centre - thanks to stories told by my late maternal grandparents - I did not fully realize just how thriving it really was. The Masons were able to 'walk' me down Main St. and list all of the businesses that once operated there."
You can read Dredge's full article here.

Meanwhile, in Orlando, Florida, the College Park Neighborhood Association’s Historical Committee has been busy organizing what they call "Oral History Nights." College Park is a a distinct neighborhood within the city of Orlando. It derives its name from the many streets within its limits that were named for institutions of higher learning such as Yale, Princeton, and Harvard. Journalist Michael W. Freeman explains that,
 "Oral History Nights are special events sponsored by the committee, when they invite longtime residents to gather and talk about what the neighborhood was like in past decades, and recall College Park as they remember it growing up."
You can read the full article about Oral History Nights here.

I love the idea of Oral History Nights, which is very similar in some ways to the "Mug Up" program developed by our colleague Martha MacDonald at the Labrador Institute.  

If you know of a community in Newfoundland and Labrador doing something creative with local oral histories, give me a shout at

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