Oral History Projects

The St. Johnsbury History and Heritage Center is excited to work with St. Johnsbury Academy’s Freshman Humanities students. Here’s a listing of resources that we hope will help you get started.

Here are some websites that host questions for oral history interviews:

    “Interview questions” href=”http://home.earthlink.net/~ahickling/interviewsuggestions.html” target=”_blank”>About Writing good Questions – This is a bit dated, 1978, and speaks to tape recorders, but some questions are broken down into decades and would help you focus in on larger historical events to tap into local reactions.

  • Step by Step Guide to Oral History – This is a great resource with a case study, a discussion of the pros and cons of oral history, and a toolkit to guide you in the process. There are links to oral history organizations.
  • Create an Oral History from Grosse Point Historical Society – Scroll to the bottom of the page for examples of interview questions. These questions seem to pertain to living in a family, school, and local community.
  •  PBS Youth Activity – How to do Oral History Projects – This page provides a good summary of the practice and etiquette of the oral interview process.

Below are some oral history podcasts. There are many on the web, we are keeping you focused on New England.

Book Resources (Consider checking Grace Stuart Orcutt Library, St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, and Lyndon State College. If you cannot find a copy locally, ask for inter-library loan.)

  • Vermonters: Oral Histories from Down Country to the Northeast Kingdom by Ron Strickland
  • The Last Yankees: Folkways in Eastern Vermont and the Border Country by Scott E. Hastings, Jr.
  • Visit’n Conversations with Vermonters collected by the Vermont Folklife Center Volume 3
  • Nearby History Exploring the Past Around You by David E. Kyvig and Myron A. Marty, specific to your project is chapter chapter 6 “Oral Documents.”

Contact the St. Johnsbury History & Heritage Center: 

For further information about classes and fees or to schedule a class, please contact Peggy Pearl at the St. Johnsbury History and Heritage Center at (802) 424-1090, email Peggy, or use our contact form below.

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