On Thursday, July 23, Rainbow History Project hosted a training session at the DC Center the LGBT Community. We trained seven new volunteers, ranging from university students to retirees, to collect oral histories. Volunteers came with various backgrounds, from anthropology to genealogy to history. One volunteer explained that she was participating in order to share the stories of personal friends who have helped make LGBT history.
Throughout the session, volunteers-in-training raised and discussed a number of insightful questions about the aims and ethics of oral history. For example:
- When conducting an interview, to what extent do we prioritize eliciting personal stories vs. information about the community?
- How active of a role should the interviewer take in the interview?
- How do we handle oral histories that contain sensitive information about people other than the narrator (interviewee)?
We are excited to continue these conversations as we welcome the new volunteers into the Rainbow History Community.
Did you miss the training session? It’s not too late to become an oral history volunteer — or to contribute another passion to our project. To find out more about volunteering, check out our Volunteer page under the “How to Contribute” tab.