Oral History used for Historical Fiction

“Ami Polonsky’s newest book for young readers, World Made of Glass, is set in 1987 and features Iris, a 12-year-old facing her father’s death from AIDS. In an era when the president hadn’t uttered the word “AIDS,” Iris copes with her grief and anger at losing her father and the discrimination he and his friends face, and finds solace by getting involved with ACT UP, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power.” Read full article here and see the interviews here.

Oral History for Teachers

“In the Behind the Scenes at the Center for Folklike and Cultural Heritage session, educators shared how your classroom can participate in the Smithsonian’s folklife and cultural heritage programs throughout the school year. Events and resources include: the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings (and their new learning pathways!), and a very robust cluster of international cultural sustainability projects. They also shared a guide for conducting oral history interviews, allowing students to turn members of their own families and community into key sources of history, culture, and tradition.” See the full story here.

Students learn history with COVID project

“In her first year on campus, a unique opportunity presented itself to Dr. Rachel Miller, courtesy of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We study them (historical events and periods), we look at them in the rearview mirror,” said Miller, an assistant professor of history. “But rarely do we have room in a history class to process what it’s like to live through all that.” Read more here.

Hospice Oral Histories

“Those last few weeks and days of life can be some of the hardest.

Hearts break and words become scarce as lives are imagined with one less beloved soul to fill them.

Before Auburn Crest Hospice patients reach eternal rest, they have the opportunity to leave parting gifts that may soothe woe-wearied family members and provide a sense of closure for all involved.

Those gifts are their stories.

“Sometimes, it’s not medicine that helps people die peacefully,” said Mike Haycraft, Auburn Crest Hospice executive director.

Haycraft and the Auburn Crest team have created a special position to capture those stories, knowing that role would be filled by the perfect person for the job: Public historian Sara Jane Ruggles.

“She really ties everything together with our nursing team and our doctor, along with our social workers. It ties it together for that holistic approach,” Haycraft said, adding that what Ruggles brings to the team aligns with Auburn Crest’s motto of, “Choosing to live every moment.”” This story from Idaho, USA. Read full story here.

Saudi Oral History

“RIYADH: From one generation to another, history is told and retold. But with time, large fragments are lost, so a Riyadh-based research center is helping preserve some of Saudi Arabia’s most important historical facts.
The earliest forms of storytelling for many cultures were primarily oral, combined with gestures and expressions, and at times, even drawings and paintings. With time these stories differ, their essence forgotten and countless tales lost through time. In recognition of the beauty of this dying art, the King Abdul Aziz Foundation for Research and Archives (Darah) has upgraded its work to record and preserve oral accounts of Saudi Arabian history and make them accessible to researchers.” Read full story here.

Presidential Chef Dies

“Henry Haller’s entree to the White House came in late 1965, after the executive chef hired by the Kennedys had quit, finding it beneath his dignity at long last to prepare food like the spare ribs, spoon bread and mashed garbanzo beans requested by the subsequent White House occupants, Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson.” Read fully story here which has a link to his oral history.