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Starr Center for the

Study of the American Experience

StoryQuest: 2014 Summer Oral History Workshop - WWII Veterans of Kent County

Date: 12:00am EDT June 26, 2014

A program to collect and preserve the firsthand interviews of America’s WWII wartime veterans. 4-weeks; Tuesdays-Wednesdays and Thursdays thru June 2014. (June 3-5, 10-12, 17-19, 24-26). Number of students: 3-6.  

Workshop Description & Objectives

This workshop will teach the methodology and practice of the oral history interview. Our area of focus will be WWII veterans from Kent County, Maryland. Students will learn the theory and practice of the oral history interview, the proper use of oral history recording equipment, and best practices for sharing and presenting recorded interviews to the public.

The first three days of the workshop will consist of intensive training in oral history methods, theory, and practice, followed by more than three weeks of hands-on interviewing experience in the field. Occasional educational visits from project advisors and road trips will further enhance the students’ workshop experience.

The goals of the workshop include creating, archiving, and making accessible a body of interviews that illuminates the experiences of WWII veterans from Kent County, Maryland, and to do so in a way that prepares students to initiate, design, and carry out their own oral history research in the future. 

Program Coord.: Michael Buckley, Program Mngr./StoryQuest Proj. Dir.
Staff Advisor/Instructor: Ted Maris-Wolf, Starr Center Deputy Director

StoryQuest 2014: Program Description - Outcomes and Takeaways

SQ workshop students will achieve the following:

1.     Become familiar with the interviewing process.

2.     Develop by the second week camaraderie, team work ethic, and confidence while learning and practicing how to communicate in a focused, team-driven group interview.

3.     Work as duo teams (by the third week) and apply their newfound interviewing confidence (by the final week) to the task of interviewing solo.

4.     Improve their ability to communicate with seniors in their 80s and 90s.

5.     Create a project blog that uses photos and portions of their interviews to highlight the StoryQuest summer workshop experience.

6.     Plan a month-long RiverArts exhibit featuring individuals and material from their completed interviews.

7.     Plan and design a special Veterans Day roundtable discussion event for Fall 2014 that features their StoryQuest work.  The event will be followed by a free dinner for Veterans at the Dining Hall and a performance developed by students using these WWII interviews and music. 

Other Benefits

Road Trips: Optional weekend road trips (Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington and the Maryland Traditions Festival in Baltimore), and one weekday road trip (American Folklife Ctr. + Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress). (*All trips include boxed lunches!)

Books (provided): Doing Oral History, by Donald Ritchie            
Nearby History, by Kyvig and Marty (selected chapters),
The Good War, by Studs Terkel (1985 Pulitzer Prize-winner).

Guest Instructors: Weekly guests TBA           

Michael Buckley, brief bio: Michael came to Washington College in 2008 as Program Manager and to develop an oral history/interviewing workshop. For the past 14 years, as part of his award-winning radio show The Sunday Brunch on 103.1 WRNR Michael has created and produced an interview series titled Voices of the Chesapeake Bay. The popular series includes a collection of over 500 Chesapeake interviews to date, a 400-page Voices of the Chesapeake Bay book (Schiffer, 2008, available at Miller Library), a CD titled Songs of the Chesapeake Bay, and an ongoing commitment to helping radio listeners to develop a richer “sense of place” about where they live. 

That commitment extends with opportunities for Washington College students to learn the oral history and radio interview production process. Over the past five years, the StoryQuest workshop has offered students opportunities to learn to recording stories of various themes. The StoryQuest program has included student interview projects about the Chesapeake Bay, the Civil Rights Era in Chestertown and, most recently, Kent County’s World War II Veterans. These American heroes are reaching their 90s now and this is really our last chance to record their stories in the first-person.

We hope you will join us in this effort for an action-packed month long summer workshop. To see what fellow Washington College students have already done for this StoryQuest: WWII Veterans Interview Workshop please visit the project blog at:

StoryQuest: WWII Interview Project Blog 2014:

StoryQuest Blog, Civil Rights Project Summer 2013:

Contact: Michael Buckley at mbuckley3@washcoll.edu
Telephone: (410) 810-7156