[Webinar] ​​​​​​​Lessons From the Pandemic: Challenges and Successes in Recording 200 Oral Histories in a Virtual Setting

Zack Ellis's picture

Lessons From the Pandemic: Challenges and Successes in Documenting 200 Oral
Histories in a Virtual Setting

Oregon Jewish Museum & Center for Holocaust Education

Jan 28, 2021 10:00 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada)


Looking beyond the pandemic, cultural institutions large and small are assessing
what lessons have been learned from our collective pivot to an online presence. This
webinar focuses on the collecting of oral histories and the challenges and benefits of
launching a project on a completely virtual platform. In this webinar, Zack Ellis of
the oral history recording platform TheirStory is in conversation with Alisha
Babbstein, archivist at the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust
Education, OJMCHE.

In late August OJMCHE asked their community to help document these
extraordinary times by sharing stories on how we have collectively and
individually experienced the pandemic, the Black Lives Matter protests, struggles
for justice, and the 2020 presidential election, and, since November, the presidential
transition. Since then 30 volunteer interviewers have been trained and have
conducted over 200 interviews, with the oldest participant age 92 and the youngest
age 13. 

Topics covered in this webinar conversation include the challenges of training
interviewers remotely on interviewing skills as well as proficiency with the
technology, the ethics of access to technology and the resulting outcome of whose
story is told, and how these techniques will be applied to, and perhaps change, the
collecting of oral histories going forward.

Alisha Babbstein will also discuss how a small museum was able to leverage this
opportunity to create a robust repository of the community's experience. Using the
TheirStory oral history recording platform, trained volunteers worked with staff to
record online interviews, approximately 30-40 minutes in length, which in the
future will be available online.