While recently visiting the Library of Congress, I stumbled upon the StoryCorps project, one that hopes to honor the lives of Americans through recording their stories. It began in October of 2003 with one recording booth placed in the Grand Central Terminal. Here, anyone could bring someone they knew to ask them questions and have their conversations recorded. Through these intimate interviews, a new form of American history has been written, and it has grown into a nationwide program. After the success of their first booth, Story Corps added two mobile recording studies in 2005 that travel across the country. To date, these trailers have visited 46 states and over 70 cities. Now, there are recording booths in Milwaukee, Nashville, and another one in New York City.
Because of the program's success, special recording initiatives have begun to tell the stories of those affected by September 11th, those affected by memory loss, and African-Americans . The stories collected about September 11th will be archived at the memorial being currently constructed in NYC.
The organization has grown leaps and bounds, and if you are unable to visit one of their trailers or sites, there are other ways to be involved. You can hear the stories on NPR's "Morning Edition" every Friday. If you miss the airing, you can subscribe to the iTunes podcast. Or, if you'd rather read the stories than listen to them, you can purchase the new novel Listening is an Act of Love, a compilation of the recordings. While here in DC, you can visit the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress like I did to see their display. Stories and videos are also available on YouTube. If none of these alternatives satisfy you, you can gather up some of your friends and family members and request a booth be delivered to you. (Keep in mind that there is a charge for this service.)
As a Peabody Award winner, StoryCorps is nationally recognized for its excellent services and is offering Americans everywhere to share their stories. If there is someone you love and you would like to know more about them, this may be the perfect way to do so. And, being part of the new making of history isn't bad either. :)