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Oral History

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In our Oral History Program, RVHS seeks to document the memories of residents, from people with families who have lived in the valley for generations, to people who have recently become members of the community. Nearly everyone with a connection to this area has an interesting story to tell which connects our various histories and cultures. Our goal is to achieve a fair, honest and balanced portrait of the many aspects of our community.

Audio and video recordings, along with transcripts of interviews, related photographs, and any other accompanying materials, are maintained in our archives. This material is made available for public programs, exhibits, print and online publications, education, and research, with the limits of our organizational capacity and resources.

Each interview captures the unique character of its subject, and reflects the interests and concerns of the interviewer. We want to capture both the individual’s life story and their impressions and memories of Rainier Valley and its people. The recordings in the current collection go back to 1994, and include recordings as recent as late 2014. We continue expanding upon this collection with new stories.

Primary tasks involved with the current collection of oral histories materials include:

  1. Converting out-of-date media into current electronic media (ex. audio cassette tape to digital MP3 file)
  2. Transcribing audio
  3. Checking transcribed audio
  4. Polishing/editing raw interview materials into publication format

We have several dozen oral histories in our collection. These are available to researchers by appointment. For a list, click here.

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We welcome your membership in the historical society. Find our membership form here. You may also pay for a membership or donate to us via PayPal using this link.