Norwich University Oral History Project Seeks Participants

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By Daphne Larkin | Norwich University Office of Communications         Media Downloads

June 26, 2014

NORTHFIELD, Vt. – After a successful inaugural year, an oral history project at Norwich University that collects spoken histories from the Norwich community invites more participants, including alumni, Northfield residents, university supporters and past and present employees to share their stories.

“We want to preserve history in the voice of those who have lived it.”Jennifer Payne, Norwich Voices Oral History Project Coordinator

The Norwich Voices Oral History Project at the Sullivan Museum and History Center is a three-year pilot project to collect and preserve the stories of the Norwich community. The theme is the training of the citizen-soldier, and particular attention will be paid to stories of service and leadership woven through the reminiscences. Funded through the generosity of the Tawani Foundation (Chicago, IL), the project runs until 2017.

Interviews will be transcribed, cataloged, and indexed for accessibility using best practices and standards of the Oral History Association. Interview titles will be entered into the Kreitzberg Library catalog, which shares information with other libraries around the world. Researchers will have access to recordings through the museum and ultimately through our website using new searchable-speech technology.

“We want to preserve history in the voice of those who have lived it,” said Jennifer Payne, the project’s coordinator. “The most valuable contribution a person can leave for the future is their story. People have long used storytelling to transmit information and values within a culture’s heritage to the next generation.”

The scope of the project is broad. “We have stories from a 1934 graduate who trained on horseback,” Payne added, “and a Ranger from the class of 2005 who handled communications for Air Force One.”

Future plans include web access as allowed by participants and interactive indexing of the histories through a partnership with the University of Kentucky’s Louie B. Nunn’s Center for Oral History.

How to Participate

People interested in sharing their story may nominate themselves or another person through the museum’s website (http://academics.norwich.edu/museum/initiatives/) at or by contacting Jennifer Payne at 802-485-2379.

Selected participants will be scheduled for an interview that takes about an hour. Interviews can be conducted at an on-campus studio or within a 250-mile radius. They will receive interview questions ahead of time and can review and edit their transcribed interview before it becomes a permanent resource. Participants receive a copy of their recording and retain copyright of their story for their lifetime. Participants have input into the usage of their recording.

Media contact:

Daphne Larkin
dlarkin@norwich.edu
(802) 485-2886
(802) 595-3613 (mobile)

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