Free Virtual Program: The Woodstock Oral History Project of the Museum of Bethel Woods, New York

Melissa Ziobro Discussion

Princeton Preservation Group presents, "The Woodstock Oral History Project of the Museum of Bethel Woods, New York"

Speaker: Julia Fell, Curator of Exhibits & Oral History

Date: February 27, 2023, 7pm via Zoom



Julia Fell is the Curator of Exhibits & Oral History at the Museum at Bethel Woods, located on the historic site of the 1969 Woodstock Music & Art Fair. A graduate of the Cooperstown Graduate Program, she was trained in oral history methods and developed a firm belief in the importance of first-person narratives in history. She began implementing oral history at the Museum during her first year there in 2018, and has been the lead curator on the Museum's oral history initiative since 2020. To date, Fell and her team have recorded over 300 new audiovisual interviews with Woodstock alumni and other players in the 1960s counterculture. Supported by grants from MANY, NYSCA, and IMLS, Fell and the Museum staff have been able to execute a series of experimental oral history pop-up programs over the last year which have been incredibly successful and enlightening. She enjoys connecting with individuals as an interviewer, and working with colleagues, consultants, and interns as the oral history initiative grows and evolves.


Woodstock isn't just 1 story; it's 450,000 stories. And the Museum at Bethel Woods wants to hear them all. In the wake of the 50th anniversary of Woodstock in 2019, the Museum team evaluated opportunities for the Museum's legacy over the next 50 years. The chance to build a robust collection of first person narratives about the greatest festival of all time and the decade that led up to it couldn't be ignored. Nor could it be ignored that the window of opportunity to capture these stories will only continue to shrink. Since 2020, the Museum at Bethel Woods has been on a mission to collect as many stories from Woodstock attendees and other participants in the 1960s counterculture as possible. Curator Julia Fell has acted as lead of the oral history initiative since its inception. In this presentation she will discuss the motivations behind the project, the interview process, experimental programming, and the successes and lessons of the Museum's work so far.


The Princeton Preservation Group has been meeting several times per year since 1983 to hear lectures on a wide range of topic relating to the preservation of cultural artifacts, including but not limited to books, manuscripts, artwork, furniture, photographs, tombstones, Lucy the Elephant, costumes, videotapes, and buildings. Recent meetings have been held in Manalapan, Princeton, New Brunswick, Morristown, and Lawrenceville.

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