You should definitely check in with the IMTAL (I think that's the name - it's the exhibition related theatre in museums group). They do some fantastic stuff and I imagine they could show you how to bring your oral histories to life.
IMTAL - HOME
You could always consider turning the oral history into a theatre piece! Check out the International Museum Theatre Alliance (IMTAL) website for resources: IMTAL - HOME
Are there excerpts of the oral histories you could pull out as a basis to start a conversation/dialogue with visitors? Or maybe between visitors in an exhibition via post-its/feedback booths? In one project I worked on with the Montclair Historical Society in NJ, we gathered oral histories about a specific aspect of the historic building's history but also broadened it to discuss what it was like growing up in the city that had de facto segregation, as well as redlining issues with housing. We took excerpts from the oral histories (1-2 minute clips), loaded them on an iPad, and the docents use it in tours to spark dialogue about issues of race and segregation (after getting trained in how to do a dialogue-based program). Since the quotes are about fairly recent history (1940s-60s) they are resonating with visitors and opening up this historic house to issues that previously were never raised in the interpretation, even though they existed. It's been a great way to build community as well as bring a hidden piece of history to light, all while engaging the audience.
Thanks for this post! I'm also very interested to hear how other museums have incorporated oral histories. Luckily, we have a great Oral History program on campus. Thus far, we've hosted an oral history workshop for students, faculty and community and plan to do so again during a statewide arts conference. We've added QR Codes to extended labels in the galleries and linked to those interviews on our Pinterest/Educator Resource pages. We're hosting an upcoming exhibition where at least three of the artists have recorded oral histories and two more will be encouraging storytelling during their Family Day performances and hands-on artmaking workshops. I'd love to try something new.
The 9/11 Museum uses recent oral histories in very powerful ways. There are a number of installations done by Local Projects (New York) throughout the museum with different approaches to oral histories. Some create opportunities for visitors to contribute ; others use oral history to tell the many stories of 9/11 in direct and compelling ways. You can see examples on their Vimeo channel and other reviews/descriptions online:
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