StoryCorps Wants America to Record Some Oral Histories This Thanksgiving 

In Depth

Instead of spending the holidays in unproductive political arguments with your loved ones, why not do some oral history interviews, instead?

StoryCorps is beloved for its stripped-down, intensely personal interviews, one of which airs every Friday morning on NPR’s Morning Edition. Earlier this year the non-profit released an app for folks who want to do their own recordings with relatives or friends, which can then be uploaded to the Internet and made publicly available, as well as being properly archived by the Library of Congress, for use by curious historians of the future.

Now the Wall Street Journal reports that StoryCorps is making a push for the upcoming holiday, calling for a “Great Thanksgiving Listen.” According to the WSJ:

The history that StoryCorps participants are gathering for the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress spans the American experience, from the challenges of veterans to the untold stories of gays and lesbians. One participant, Rory Miller,interviewed his girlfriend about their first kiss, and ended up proposing marriage during the recording. Vet Vaughn Gordy described the time his plane was shot down by enemy fire during World War II.

If that interests, the WSJ piece offers some tips, from guidance on proper smartphone/microphone placement, to suggesting you bring a box of tissues. The app itself will walk you through the process and provide some sample questions, as well. It’s even endorsed by Queen Martha.

Even if the StoryCorps app doesn’t appeal—fair enough!—most smartphones these days come with simple, easy-to-use recording programs. You’ll be glad you took the time.

Contact the author at [email protected].

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