Presentation at the New York City Museum Educators Roundtable Annual Conference, May 2013
“Oral History in a Public Context: Fostering Human Connections with Broader Public Meanings”
This conference session, organized by Cindy VandenBosch, included case study presentations and facilitated small group discussions to examine how oral history can be used effectively in a variety of museum-based projects, from apps to place-making activities, walking tours to educational programs, as a means of fostering personal connections with the past, and with broader public meanings.
The goal of the session was to allow participants to discuss the challenges and rewards of documenting and telling the stories of people and places that are not well documented, and of using both old and new methods and technologies to connect the public with those stories, and their contemporary implications. Presenters included Cindy VandenBosch, who discussed Turnstile’s project to record 20+ oral histories with vendors and neighborhood residents in and around Brooklyn’s Moore Street Market, and Andrew Gustafson, who discussed the use of oral history in the Brooklyn Navy Yard World War II Tour to not only tell the stories of shipyard workers and sailors during this time period, but also as a tool to elicit tourgoers to share their own experiences and family stories. The panel also included Molly Garfinkel, director of Place Matters, and Hanna Griff-Sleven, Director of Cultural Programming at the Museum at Eldridge Street.