In March, we announced the news that we received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), as part of the Humanities Collections and Reference Resources category, to identify, inventory, and plan for the digitization and preservation of hidden, at-risk audiovisual collections across Wisconsin.
More than a month into the grant, it’s time to tell you more about it!
The yearlong planning grant, entitled Listening to War: Uncovering Wisconsin’s Wartime Oral Histories, will bring to light oral history collections capturing personal accounts of Wisconsin veterans and civilians during World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Persian Gulf War. Recollection Wisconsin will seek out collections likely to be at high risk for loss – those held by public libraries, archives, historical societies, museums and schools in small Wisconsin communities – in order to ensure that this important content does not permanently vanish from the historical record. By developing a road map to improve access to firsthand accounts from a wide range of individuals – servicemen and women, their spouses and children, antiwar activists, refugees and others – this project will lead to a deeper understanding of the impact of war on American life and the ways in which global economic, political and social issues play out on the local level.
As part of the planning grant, we’ve hired a Digital Archives Assistant, Dana Gerber-Margie. Over the next several months, Dana will travel to memory institutions across the state to inventory wartime oral history collections. Dana is a California native who earned her MLS at the School of Library and Information Studies at UW-Madison in 2013. After graduation, she worked as an Audio Archivist at the Wisconsin Historical Society, where she digitized and managed audiovisual collections. She loves living in Wisconsin, and is thrilled to learn more about collections at vibrant cultural institutions all over the state.
We are currently reaching out to libraries, archives, museums and historical societies with relevant materials, but we may have missed you. Does your organization have oral histories? Email firstname.lastname@example.org — she’d love to hear from you.
For more information about the Listening to War project, visit recollectionwisconsin.org/wioralhistory. And watch this space to read more about Dana’s travels!