Are you eager to preserve and protect National Park Service history by interviewing personnel in your park or program who recently retired? Are you contemplating an oral history project that explores the history of your park or program or of resources that you steward? Here's the place to begin!
These resources offer guidance to all the stages of an oral history project, from planning and budgeting through choosing equipment, conducting great interviews, being mindful of legal and ethical issues, archiving and preserving digital recordings, transcribing recordings, and using interviews in multiple ways.
You can also reach out to Lu Ann Jones, coordinator of Park History Program’s oral history program. She specializes in oral history methods and training. Contact Lu Ann by email or at 202-354-2219. She's happy to help.
- The Oral History Association (OHA) sets professional standards for oral history practitioners in the United States.
>> The OHA Archiving Oral History offers best practices for preserving oral history interview recordings and materials.
>> The OHA's Remote Interviewing Resources offer useful guidance as oral history practitioners adapt methods during the COVID-19 pandemic and stop face-to-face interviewing for the health of both narrator and interviewer.
The “Introduction to Oral History” from the Baylor University Institute for Oral History is an online manual that describes how to plan and design an oral history project, choose recording equipment, plan and conduct interviews, process and archive recordings, and use oral histories for interpretive programming.
- Oral History in the Digital Age (from the Institute of Museum and Library Services at Michigan State University) offers up-to-date information about getting started, project planning, choosing digital audio and video equipment, and many other aspects of oral history practice.
Webinars & Training
- Webinar trainings related to oral history are now available as video recordings. Webinar topics are oral history project planning and interviewing; preserving and accessing oral history interviews; and transcribing oral history recordings.
Steven Sielaff from the Baylor University Institute for Oral History covers procedural and technical aspects of conducting oral history interviews in a remote setting. Topics include recording equipment, connectivity platforms, and preservation planning. Steven also guides participants though the Oral History Association’s (OHA) Remote Interviewing Resource suite. Presented by the NPS Park History Program and recorded live on February 4, 2021.
- 1 hour, 45 minutes, 9 seconds
Steven Sielaff from the Baylor University Institute for Oral History discusses the special circumstances that impact a remote interview as opposed to more traditional settings. Topics will include connecting with interviewees, remote quality concerns, and extra legal, ethical, or security precautions for your project. With experiences and lessons learned in conducting interviews for projects during the COVID-19 pandemic. Presented by the NPS Park History Program and recorded live on February 25, 2021.
- 1 hour, 28 minutes, 47 seconds
- Check out the NPS Oral History Resources collection. This set of resources includes project planning and processing manuals for conducted oral histories for the NPS.
>> Make sure narrators sign the NPS Oral History Legal Release Form so the National Park Service can use stories shared with us.
- Explore these articles and videos for further study into the theory and practice of oral history.
Last updated: August 13, 2021