Oral History

 

Visit the Martha’s Vineyard Museum Oral History Channel to watch short videos edited and excerpted from oral history interviews in our archive. Subscribe on Youtube to be notified when new content is added.

For our African American oral histories, visit the African American Oral History Playlist.

The mission of the MVM Oral History Department is to promote the collection and preservation of Vineyard history, past and present, through audio and video oral history interviews and related materials. The Department was established at the Museum in 1993. It now contains over 1700 interviews with Vineyard people conducted over the past sixty years. The archive of tapes, transcripts, and photos is housed at the Museum, where it is available to the public for purposes of education, research and enjoyment. For information contact: Linsey Lee, Oral History Curator – (508) 627-4441 ext. 113

Anthropologists and historians have long regarded individual oral testimonies to be a key factor in shaping a shared memory and identity. The recorded memories and observations of Vineyarders in the Museum’s Oral History Archive deepen our understanding and appreciation of the past, broaden our awareness of the unique qualities of the Vineyard, and can inform our individual and collective decisions regarding the Island going forward.

PUBLISHED WORKS

The Museum has published three volumes of Vineyard Voices: Words Faces and Voices of Island People by Oral History Curator Linsey Lee. Each book features excerpts from interviews and photograph portraits of 75 Island people. Those Who Serve: Martha’s Vineyard and World War II is a collection of oral histories and photographs from the popular World War II exhibit entitled Those Who Serve: Martha’s Vineyard and World War II. Those Who Serve was also made into an online exhibit which you can explore here. The Museum’s publication, the MV Museum Quarterly, often features oral histories.

All titles available for purchase at the Museum:

Linsey Lee, Vineyard Voices: Words, Faces and Voices of Island People, 1998

Linsey Lee, More Vineyard Voices: Words, Faces and Voices of Island People, 2005,

Linsey Lee, Those Who Serve: Martha’s Vineyard and World War II, 2010

Linsey Lee, Vineyard Voices Three: Words Faces and Voices of Island People, 2019

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

There is an ongoing need for volunteers to work indexing and transcribing oral history interviews to help make this treasure trove of tales and memories that can tell us so much about our Island’s past, present and future more accessible to the public. This can be done from our office at the Museum or online from your home base.

We also hold Oral History Interviewing workshops to expand the number of trained persons who can conduct oral histories for the Museum with people in all the diverse communities of the Vineyard.

To learn more about our volunteer opportunities contact: Linsey Lee, Oral History Curator or Laura Noonan, Oral History Assistant.

DONATIONS OF ORAL HISTORIES AND RELATED MATERIALS

The Oral History Center welcomes new additions to its collection of audio and video oral histories. If you are interested in donating materials, please visit our Collections page for additional information.

If you are interested in being interviewed for the archives or have suggestions of persons to interview, please contact us: Linsey Lee, Oral History Curator or Laura Noonan, Oral History Assistant.