As part of an ongoing commitment to the greater Worcester area, the Worcester Women's Oral History Project (WWOHP) presented an Oral History Community Workshop on May 27 at the Worcester Historical Museum. Free of charge and open to all members of the community, this workshop provided practical and detailed assistance to individuals interested in collecting oral histories from a variety of sources. Presenters at this event included Linda Rosenlund who pro- vided background information on the Worcester Women's History Project (WWHP) and WWOHP, as well as Charlene Martin and Maureen Ryan Doyle, Co-Chairs of WWOHP.
It was an engaging and dynamic evening and the presenters covered a variety of topics including the mission of WWHP, which is to celebrate and document the contribution of women in the history, social fabric, and culture of Worcester. Many aspects of oral history were discussed including its purpose, its many uses, and the identification of major U.S. oral history projects. The legal documentation required for accurate oral histories was also presented to the group.
The art of asking questions was a popular subject and WWOHP shared its list of carefully designed interview questions with those present. The art of listening was also discussed in depth. Attendees were given specific suggestions on how to listen to interviewees and how to develop their own follow-up questions while conducting interviews. Advice was also shared about the transcription process of completed interviews.
An animated question and answer portion followed the presentation and those in attendance posed many perceptive and insightful questions. Participants were invited to share completed oral histories with WWOHP. It was explained that the permanent repository for WWOHP's records is now the Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute of Harvard University.
WWOHP will continue in its mission to offer free programming about oral history to the public. Our next event will take place in December.