Princetonians Invited to Share Their Stories
Princetonians are invited to share their stories as part of Voices of Princeton, a community-based oral history project that aims to collect, share, and archive stories and memories. The project is a collaboration between the library, the Historical Society of Princeton, the Arts Council of Princeton, and the Witherspoon-Jackson Historical and Cultural Society.
Everyone is welcome to participate, whether they are a lifelong Princetonian or new to the area. Voices of Princeton histories are recorded in an interview format in which two people who know each other conduct a guided conversation, with one person serving primarily as the interviewee and the other as the interviewer.
“Stories define us,” said Brett Bonfield, Princeton Public Library executive director. “When we give voice to our own stories or listen to others’ stories with empathy, we develop our capacity to understand and contribute to our community. I am grateful to our partners and my colleagues at the library for their work in creating this project, and I look forward to hearing the stories that will bring it to life.”
No experience is needed to participate, and guidance will be provided about how to prepare for the interview. Through the project website, two people who know each other sign up for an interview time. After they register, they will be matched with a trained project facilitator for the interview. During the interview, the facilitator operates the recording equipment and handles the logistics so the participants can focus on the interview without distractions.
All interviews will be made available through the Voices of Princeton website, where they will be keyword searchable by topics mentioned during the conversation. The recordings will also be archived at the Historical Society of Princeton, alongside approximately 500 existing oral history recordings.
“We’re proud to be building a sustainable infrastructure for the collecting and recording of stories,” said Izzy Kasdin, executive director of the Historical Society of Princeton. “Such a collaborative and long-lasting way of capturing recollections whenever the opportunity or need arises has not existed in Princeton for quite some time. We’re thrilled to be launching this project with our community partners.”
Participants for the pilot phase of Voices of Princeton are currently being sought. Information about sign-up, and more about the project, is available at VoicesofPrinceton.org.