Western Montanans will get the opportunity to weave their lives into the fabric of the largest oral history project ever with the scheduled arrival of StoryCorps in Missoula Aug. 4.
National Public Radio stations around the country are hosting StoryCorps, an unprecedented 10-year project that invites ordinary Americans to interview one another and record personal stories in their own words. The StoryCorps mobile recording booth, housed in an Airstream trailer, will be parked at the Boone and Crockett Club, where it will remain until Aug. 22.
According to Michael Marsolek, program director of Montana Public Radio, Missoula is fortunate to be a part of the history project.
“[MTPR] chose Missoula because we knew Missoula would be a community that would embrace this project,” says Marsolek.
Starting July 21, Montanans from Missoula, Helena, Bozeman and beyond began signing up for recording slots on the project’s website. By July 29, all 100 slots were full. Marsolek says there will likely be a waiting list at the booth.
Every Friday morning, NPR’s Morning Edition is presenting a compelling StoryCorps interview on national radio. MTPR will begin airing local segments recorded at the booth beginning next week.
“That’s the exciting part,” says Marsolek. “You don’t really know what kinds of stories you are going to hear. The real neat thing about StoryCorps, unlike other projects that have captured historical events, is that StoryCorps is about personal stories.”
StoryCorps, the largest oral history project ever undertaken, collected more than 2,000 stories in its first year and expects to collect more than 250,000 interviews over the next decade.
Marsolek says that in addition to the StoryCorps project, MTPR will broadcast a special Friday, Aug. 19, about how to record and capture your own oral history.
“There’s nothing like having the human voice on tape to capture moments of time, and the people who are important to you,” says Marsolek.