From the Smithsonian Institution Archives

What is Oral History

Oral history is a technique for generating and preserving original, historically interesting information – primary source material – from personal recollections through planned recorded interviews.  This method of interviewing is used to preserve the voices, memories and perspectives of people in history. It’s a tool we can all use to engage with and learn from family members, friends, and the people we share space with in an interview that captures their unique history and perspective in their own words. Oral history stems from the tradition of passing information of importance to the family or tribe from one generation to the next.

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