It was about a month ago that I attended the Oral History Association Annual Meeting. The most fulfilling and educational experience was the Oral History THATCamp, a day-long unconference where attendees presented and hashed out their interest areas to gain insight from attendees working or interested in (like myself) the field. I was able to share the work of 826 Valencia, the Service-learning Initiative and other organizations that have implemented oral history projects with youth and community.
I led a session in which I asked for opinions and experience from those who have built an online archival exhibit from scratch. At WILL I have the opportunity to develop an online archival narrative, with pretty much whatever WILL-available material I’d like. The conversation, in a roundabout way, drove me to understand that I should meet the community’s interest as well as hone in on my own (especially since I will only have six months to work on the project). To that end, I have in mind something education focused perhaps with youth and/or teachers, or geared towards teacher curriculum.
The Newberry Library developed Lincoln at 200, a primary-source project on Omeka. The project guides students through Lincoln’s term and includes images and narratives from the time period. It’s a great way to take the physical object, and make it digital and accessible to a younger audience. Lincoln at 200 could be more inquiry based, and I wonder if there are museum or library projects, which have sought to engage a community of school-aged students in the material in a way that supports more self-directed learning. Hunting around on Omeka will be a start.
Alternatively, a youth radio program called Tree House Radio aired on WILL in the early 1990s, and I’d love to spend time with the material to see if there’s anything that could be used to align with social studies classes (it’s two decades old, that’s history, sheesh!). A recent post on Facebook from a WILL reporter linked to a Tree House interview of Hillary Clinton, the only interview she participated when she came to visit UIUC in 1992. Pretty rad.
So many awesome possibilities. Ideas, ideas a-brewin’.