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NPR project seeks interview subjects
Representatives from the National Public Radio (NPR) StoryCorps and Cape Cod NPR station WCAI met with Martha's Vineyard Museum personnel and other invited community members at the museum in Edgartown on Feb. 22 to announce an interview project coming up on the Island in May. A national oral history program, StoryCorps visits communities around the country, interviewing private citizens with the goal of preserving their stories for the future.
Eliza Bettinger, senior coordinator with
StoryCorps, explains the program to Vineyarders at the Martha's Vineyard Museum. Photos by Susan Safford
The preliminary visit aimed to let Islanders know about the program and to solicit volunteer participants and recommendations for invididuals to be interviewed. Instead of a professional interviewer questioning the subject, StoryCorps also solicits friends or relatives to conduct the conversations. Interviews are meant to focus on the subject's personal life, and be spontaneous and unrehearsed.
"We want to hear everyone's story, from the barber down the street to your great-grandfather's best friend," reads an announcement from the Cape and islands NPR stations, emphasizing the importance of identifiying a wide range of interview subjects and focussing on everyday people.
Susan Loucks, WCAI development director (left) with Martha's Vineyard Museum's oral history curator Linsey Lee and executive director Matthew Stackpole.
Participants will receive a copy of the recording session to keep, and if they agree, copies of Vineyard tapes will be added to the archives at the museum's oral history center where they will be made available for educational and non-commercial uses. A copy will also be archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Excerpts from some interviews will be broadcast on NPR.