They explain who we are, what we’ve seen, and how our experiences shape us. They unite families and communities through shared memories and they help us explore unfamiliar places. They elicit emotions such as sadness, laughter, and anger while offering hope, wisdom, and warnings. Most importantly they are passed from one generation to the next.Everyone has a unique story to share but are the messages being heard?
The Smithsonian Folklife and Oral History Interviewing Guide is a tool that can aid in capturing the stories of family, friends, coworkers, and community members. This manual offers suggestions of items to bring to the interview and possible questions to ask the interviewee. One excellent reminder is to ask open-ended questions instead of those that can be answered with yes or no. The guide also contains several blank forms including the Interview Information Form, the Interview Release Form, and the Audio/Video Recording Log.
To hear some distinctive voices from history, visit some of these sites.