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Keene State Summer Oral History Connects Past and Present

KEENE, N.H. 5/21/03 - Whether you’re interested in compiling a town history, developing a classroom project, or preserving your family’s past, you can learn how to make history come alive in a one-week institute this summer at Keene State College. The course “Oral History for Classroom and Community” weaves together the social sciences, language, and performing arts to encourage a connection between past, present, and future generations. Guest speakers, multi-media presentations, and interactive oral history projects highlight this intensive, and meaningful course.

David Kolkebeck, an internship coordinator at the Whitingham and Williamstown school districts in Vermont, found the Oral History course stimulating and the three guest speakers informative in their discussions about how they had compiled histories of a police department, a school, and a town.

“Our final project was a combination of chronological history set to period music in which we incorporated oral histories from our fellow students (many of whom were teachers),” explained Kolkebeck.

Teachers find the course useful as a classroom project that can actively involve all students in a variety of ways from interviewing relatives and townspeople to recording oral histories and researching historical references.

Although centuries old, oral history has received new attention because of its effectiveness in bringing forward voices seldom heard and promoting a legacy of connection between generations. Oral history brings communities and generations together through a shared understanding of where we have been, where we are, and how it might be, explains course instructor Randy Ann Thomas, PhD, co-coordinator of the New Hampshire Women’s Oral History Project.

“Oral history is magical, it is reciprocal. The sharing of one’s story forms a bond between the listener and the narrator,” explains Thomas. “A new sense of connection and appreciation is formed, a connection that forges a link between our communities and ourselves.”

This summer’s Oral History course meets Monday through Friday, July 21-25, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., in air-conditioned Rhodes Hall on the Keene State College campus. Participants may earn three undergraduate or graduate credits. Tuition is $648/$705 for New Hampshire residents and $705/$780 for out-of- state residents.

For further information, contact the KSC Continuing Education and Summer Session Office by phone at 603-358-2290/1-800-KSC-1909, by e-mail to, or on the Internet at

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229 Main Street
Keene, New Hampshire 03435