Telling Lives

The MHSO was the only Canadian destination for Telling Lives. An initiative of the American History Workshop, a New York based consortium of historians, curators, educators, and artists interested in finding new ways to engage ordinary people in history, Telling Lives was a digital storytelling project focused on collecting memories of childhood experiences. Using specially-designed, video-recording kiosks, members of the public were asked to recount their memories, in 10-minute segments, related to a pre-selected theme such as ‘family vacations’ or ‘getting my first job’. Historical images and text, a brief video presentation, and a set of questions prompted their recollections. The objective was to help participants see their personal experiences in historical context, document 20th century social history through the creation of a Video Memory Bank, and enhance the capacity of museums and libraries to involve visitors and members in building collections and creating programming. The MHSO was a partner in Telling Lives during the proto-type development and piloting stage. From October to December 2004, it was the host site for the recording of ‘going to school’ memories – recollections of classrooms, teachers, and playground adventures.

American History Workshop