Saturday, March 19, 2011

StoryCorps Oral History Project

I recently heard about a U.S. program that allows people to record and share their stories.  StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit oral history project that has collected and archived more than 30,000 interviews from more than 60,000 participants since 2003.  Each interview is recorded on a CD given to the participants and is archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.  It has a weekly broadcast on NPR's Morning Edition.

StoryCorps has three permanent locations around the country (New York City, Atlanta, San Francisco) where you can go to record your interview.  It has a mobile recording trailer that travels to other locations.  It is also possible for groups to arrange their own recording sessions.

The Web site has a question generator to help you plan your interview ahead of time.  There are links to information about StoryKits and do-it-yourself instructions, if you want to make your recordings at home.  There's even an iPhone app.

StoryCorps' mission is to "provide Americans of all background and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives."  How many stories would you like to preserve from your family and friends?  How many stories have already been lost?


  1. Hi, Janice--

    I wrote a post about my visit to a StoryCorps booth when it came to Los Angeles a few years ago. Lots of photos and description about what it's like to take part in the StoryCorps experience.

    (Coolness if you're an audio geek- a great discussion between a knowledgeable friend and a member of the StoryCorps team to discuss the equipment. Plus, I was jazzed that there was that kind of response on my post.)

    If you haven't done any methods of creating recordings of family stories, StoryCorps is a great way to go. However, the duration of the time is 45 minutes, which is a drop in the bucket when you think about the number of stories that people have to tell. StoryCorps is an excellent start, but for a serious family story catcher, you can do more on your own.

    I'm all about providing DIY info for how you can collect and preserve family stories yourself. If this interests you, I've got a roundup post which links to the best of what I wrote over the last year (look in the News section under sick/not at Rootstech)

  2. Susan, thanks for the great information. I'm just getting into recorded family history; I've usually written to relatives and gotten letters back.

    And if anyone has trouble finding the "roundup post", the direct URL is


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