Oral History in Museums

For my first essay I plan to look at the usage of Oral History in museums. My interest in this topic comes from the many ways of displaying Oral History in a museum and the impact this may have on the listener. Do you present Oral History as just audio coming from audio stations setup around the museum? Do you compile a video to go along with the auditory portion? Or do you include subtitles or transcriptions to provide the listener the information? Each of these presentations have benefits and drawbacks and as a presenter you must choose the one that will present the interview in the correct sense. You must be wary of how each of these presentation methods may change the way a listener will receive the message given. These are the major impacts I wish to explore. I hope that through my further exploration of these topics I will further understand my knowledge of the impact of displaying Oral History will have on a museum visitor.

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The Key of Listening

For my interview I expect many things. I expect for a new viewpoint that I never could have imagined. While I may have some idea what my interviewee has done in the past it will take until their sharing for me to fully understand their story. This part of the interview will undoubtably be the most exciting. Like many people, I intend to have full knowledge of the interviewee and their interest, it is in the pitfalls of my research where the exciting and interesting points will likely fall. These stories will be the unique and entertaining experiences each of us hold within us waiting to be shared. In these stories will I learn things about my interviewee, the topic, and myself I had no intention of learning, and this will be exciting.

I also expect that I will be challenged. My preconceptions prior to the interview will be tested and likely changed. I will also be challenged to provide strong talking points presented in a clear, easy to comprehend manner. One of my main challenges in everyday speaking can be my wording and clear use of speech. This will only be expanded upon during the interview and it will be up to myself to create an atmosphere of comfort and understanding and not pose questions that are poorly worded.

In a similar manner, I expect that I will learn a new level of listening. I will be forced to do many things at a time: checking recording levels, thinking of my next question or topic, and mainly, listening to the stories of the interviewee. This overload of mental stimulation will create a whirlwind of activity in addition to my earlier posed concerns. I intend on conquering this through a process of deep breaths, selected starting topics for fallback if necessary, and most importantly by focusing on the interviewee. While this project is intended to prepare myself with Oral History skills, it is just importantly to get the story of my interviewee into the public and archived. I must remember that they are the one with the interesting stories and my job is to gather these stories. By realizing this, I will allow myself freedom to ask another “fallback” starting topic to recollect my thoughts and begin a new focus of the interview. I do not fully anticipate this, but in case it happens, I feel prepared to manage a situation like this.


Various Impacts of British Sport

Coming to a foreign country one of the first thing I notice are their sporting passions. Sports have been a major part of my past growing up with multiple professional teams in my home town as well as attending a major football college power. I have seen how sports can divide or unite communities when against certain opponents. I have seen how major American television will cover anything and everything regarding sports and thus the impact they have over the nation. As a result of this it only makes sense to me that when I enter a new country I look to pick up on these same trends and to look further into them.

One of the things I have noticed in the U.K. is that, similarly to the U.S., football is not just a game but rather can be a way of life. Teams will unite and divide communities. People love to watch their rivals fail almost as much as watching their own team succeed. This is particularly evident on this weekend, in the matchup between Celtic FC and Rangers FC in Glasgow. Football fans are split whether Rangers FC is the same club with the same history that was sent to the lowest level of the Scottish Premier League in 2012 and currently owned by a new company. This is just one instance of a the rivalry among the aggressive history between the clubs. The passion given to these, and other, teams seems unrivaled around the world. One goal while in the U.K. is to further understand this passion.

It has been suggested that I explore another side of U.K. football, women’s football. I have seen images and short articles regarding this portion of the game but never explored its history. This side of the game has since peaked my interest and is something I hope to further understand.

Through exploring the women’s side of football I hope to bring these women to the foreground in the public image. Many fans of the game, such as myself, may not know much about them or their impact in the football world. Through an Oral History interview with someone who has experienced this side of football, I wish to bring their experiences into the public conscious.