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Heritage Education

To share your Oral History projects, please email Vanessa.

Featured Oral History Project

The Cienega Watershed Project (CWP) has partnered with several other non-profit organizations, including the Santa Cruz Valley Heritage Alliance, to create an Oral History Work Group, a collaborative effort to combine skills, resources, and knowledge to more effectively collect, manage, and disseminate the oral histories in the Cienega watershed and adjacent areas.

The Oral History Work Group is still forming, but the current participating members include:
The CWP participates, facilitates meetings, provides administrative support, and manages funds. Download the Oral History Work Group Fact Sheet
Why gather oral history?
First, in an area with a rapidly increasing population, such stories offer connectivity between newer residents in new communities to long-term residents in historic communities. Oral histories educate newcomers about the area, bring history alive for schoolchildren, and promote heritage values.
Second, landscapes such as the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area and the Coronado National Forest have both influenced and been affected by events and persons notable in southeast Arizona history. Natural events such as droughts, fires, and changes in the vegetation community have long been noted by ranching families and other community members living in this area. The changes in the environment, the adaptations made by local residents, and the limits of adaptation are all issues relevant to our current use and management of this landscape.
What are common oral history issues and challenges?
  • Developing training opportunities, especially hands-on, that improve interview techniques and expose members to new and appropriate technologies in managing, converting, storing, and utilizing data
  • Obtaining technical resources and hands-on experience in capturing, transcribing, transferring, and presenting data and story segments to the public
  • Resolving issues on shared databases, archiving, standardized digital formats, and strategies for continued curation and access
  • Learning and designing effective dissemination techniques—including social media and websites—to connect communities with their histories, make historical educational programs available to schools, and ensure that interviewees and their families have access to their histories and opportunities for feedback
  • Obtaining funding and ensuring that shared information and tools are part of the resourcing strategy
What has the Oral History Work Group accomplished?
  • Challenges and issues have been identified and prioritized
  • A collaborative approach has been initiated that will result in sharing resources and results, and avoiding duplication
  • Tools have been compiled to aid members in their work, ranging from an inventory form for an eventual shared database to a contributed hours form for matching grants
  • A webpage is under construction, to be accessed on the CWP website
  • The work group received an $11,000 grant from the BLM to be used for three training workshops and for support in inventorying, converting (from analog to digital format),and transcribing taped interviews
  • Information sharing has commenced on topics of interests such as web links, digital formats, equipment, standards, and sources of training.
What is the current program of work for 2010 and 2011?
  • Inventory of existing oral histories and creation of a common database, Summer–Fall 2010
  • Training in interview techniques and best practices, September 2010
  • Training in the use of new and appropriate technologies, under development for Fall 2010
  • Conversion of analog tapes to digital format, commencing Fall 2010
  • Transcribing existing oral histories, commencing Fall 2010
  • Training on the best practices for using oral histories in public programs and education, 2010–2011