Reminder: Library of Congress training for oral history volunteers March 11

Library of Congress training for volunteers interested in conducting oral history interviews of Edmonds residents has been scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, March 11 at the Edmonds Historical Museum.

According to project coordinator Sara Jane Ruggles, the Edmonds Museum is working with the Library of Congress’ Veteran’s History Project to train volunteers interested in collecting or sharing wartime-related oral histories. The March 11 event will last about two-and-a-half hours, and attendees will receive training materials and a certificate of completion.

According to Ruggles, a public history graduate student at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, the project “is a great opportunity for anyone who is interested in listening to stories and collecting local history to receive formal training in the art of conducting a constructive and quality oral history interview.” Ruggles is also interested in hearing from those who have wartime-related memories to share.

The Edmonds Museum project will begin with collecting stories about Edmonds wartime memories. Volunteers can do as many interviews as they choose or as their schedule allows. They will submit completed interviews to Ruggles, who will then process the videos and get them ready for publishing on the online archive.

“We encourage people of all ages to volunteer,” Ruggles said. “This is especially beneficial for high school and college-age students who wish to put something truly unique on their college or career resumes.” According to Ruggles, interviews that meet the Veteran’ History Project guidelines can be submitted for review and could be formally archived with the Library of Congress.

The training is free and open to anyone who is interested in oral history, Ruggles said. Although priority is given to project volunteers, the workshop is also open to residents “who simply want to learn more about how to conduct interviews with their own loved ones outside of the project,” she added.

Workshop space is limited, so those interested in attending must RSVP to Ruggles at edmondsoralhistory@gmail.com. You can also RSVP via phone by calling the museum at 425-774-0900.

The museum project is also seeking community members interested in being interviewed about Edmonds wartime memories.

“War affects everyone, from those who find themselves in the heart of combat to those who do their part supporting the war efforts on the home front,” Ruggles said. “That is why we are hoping to collect stories from veterans and any residents who have memories of what war times were like in Edmonds.”

Those being interviewed won’t be limited to any specific conflict or point of view, she added.

Project administrators will hold workshops and be available via phone and email for any storytellers who have questions or hesitations about how their stories will be shared and what is expected of them as a storyteller, she said.

“The primary objective of this project is to treat every story and every memory with the utmost respect and reverence,” Ruggles said. “Storytellers hold all the rights to their own stories and they also have the rights to refuse to answer any questions or discuss any topics they feel uncomfortable with.”

The interview location is dictated by the storyteller, she added. The Edmonds Museum can accommodate such interviews, but for situations where transportation is difficult, volunteers can come to the person being interviewed.

Storytellers are also asked to contact Ruggles at edmondsoralhistory@gmail.com or call the museum at 425-774-0900 if they would like to be interviewed.

 

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