If you like telling your kids how you met their mother in biology class in 1979, or impressing your co-workers about record keeping before computers, then Raleigh Muns wants to hear from you.
Muns, a librarian at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, is looking for people with a story to tell about their experiences at the university. He will use those stories to create “Echoes of UMSL – An Oral History Project,” one of the many Jubilee programs being scheduled for the university’s upcoming 50th anniversary.
“We are looking for UMSL constituents, people who have a connection with the university and a story to tell,” Muns said. “Alumni, friends, retirees, current employees, students, even their parents or kids. We think the strength of this project will be the rank and file.”
The project has received $1,000 for equipment, one of many Jubilee programs funded from the university’s $50,000 Jubilee Awards budget. The oral history project is sponsored by University Archives and the Chancellor’s Cultural Diversity Initiative committee. The oral histories will be posted on those two websites.
Muns explained that unlike lengthy, more formal types of oral history projects, “Echoes of UMSL” will be a short, 10-minute conversation captured on a small digital recorder. His questions will be scripted, but the answers will belong to the storyteller.
“I’m cutting down on the technology, keeping it simple,” he said. “The stories are what’s most important.”
The setup will be simple and portable, which will allow Muns to record stories around campus.
“We’ll be doing many of them on the spot, and we’re not adverse to going to people’s homes if necessary,” he said. “Ideally, we can get at least one person with a UMSL connection to each of UMSL’s 50 years.”
Muns anticipates there will be many opportunities around campus and social media for the stories to be shared.
“It would be nice to have them for the next big anniversary,” he said.
Muns hopes to start collecting stories next month, and they will run throughout 2013. If you or someone you know has a UMSL story to tell, contact Raleigh Muns at email@example.com.