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Learning by Listening: Oral History in the NPS



Oral history interviews help Park Service rangers interpret document the history of park sites and interpret them for visitors.
Oral history interviews help Park Service rangers
document the history of park sites
and interpret them for visitors.

Personal stories are among the most valuable resources that the National Park Service preserves and protects for future generations. We learn about the past by listening to the people who made history at our sites and in the Park Service itself.

Need help with an oral history project or want to know how parks are putting oral history into practice?

Here's the place to begin.


Getting started with oral history
NPS Oral Historians Make History
Listen to the Stories of American History
Read Oral History Interviews
Consult Articles about Oral History in NPS

 

Getting started with oral history

Want to learn how to plan and design a successful oral history project, choose recording equipment, conduct interviews, process and archive recordings, and use oral histories for interpretive programming? The Oral History SharePoint Site is available to Park Service personnel and features NPS oral history training materials in the Shared Documents folder.

• For useful “how to” essays on all phases of an oral history project by some of the best oral history practitioners at work today, check out Oral History in the Digital Age.

• The Park Service has supported scores of oral history projects. Read about them in Directory of Oral History in the National Park Service (July 2010)

• Informed consent is an important part of the oral history process. It’s essential that narrators sign an Oral History Legal Release Form (2009).

The Oral History Association (OHA) serves a diverse range of people interested in oral history as a way of collecting and interpreting human memories. Practitioners from many fields find that the OHA provides professional guidance and a friendly environment for sharing ideas. Its Web site features a wealth of useful information as you plan an oral history project.

Have questions about oral history or need help planning a project? Contact Lu Ann Jones, staff historian, Park History Program, at luann_jones@nps.gov or 202-354-2219.


NPS Oral Historians Make History

 

Students in the 2012 "Effective Oral History" course interview Michael Watson, former superintendent at Mather Training Center,

Students in the 2012 "Effective Oral History" course interview Michael Watson, former superintendent at Mather Training Center, in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

Listen to the stories of American history

First-person accounts bring history alive: Read oral history interviews

Want to know more about NPS oral history projects? These articles can help

 

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