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Oral History Course Offered this Summer

KEENE, N.H. 5/15/02 - Educators, librarians, local historians, and community and family members can learn to make history come alive by participating in “Oral History for Classroom and Community,” this summer at Keene State College. This five-day institute is an interdisciplinary course that weaves together the social sciences, language, and performing arts.

Guest speakers will explain techniques they used to compile histories of their communities, including:

  • Hal Brown, a Keene Police Detective and author of “In Pursuit of Justice,” a history of the Keene Police Department;

  • Rebecca Courser, a member of the Warner Historical Society and the production committee of the videotape “A Way of Life Remembered,” the story of Simonds Free High School and Warner, N.H.; and

  • Millie Kittredge, a member of the Bradford Historical Society and narrator of “A Way of Life Remembered.”

Although centuries old, oral history has received new attention as an effective learning tool for its importance 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, 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.”

Barbara Schupack, who completed the Oral History institute last summer, says, “I have launched into a community project with a better understanding of the process, thanks to Randy Thomas’s course.” Schupack is compiling an oral history of Fitzwilliam, where she is president of the town’s historical society.

Meredith VanderWoude says she enrolled in last summer’s course because of her interest in family history and found she left the class with a broader appreciation for the application of oral history. “Oral history is about stories, the stories of everyday people. For those who are inspired by the stories of others and have a passion for the past, Oral History opens the door to unlimited possibilities,” explains Vander Woude, a member of Keene State’s Academic and Career Advising staff.

This summer’s Oral History course meets Monday to Friday, July 22-26, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., in air-conditioned Rhodes Hall, room 118, on the Keene State College campus. Participants may earn three undergraduate or graduate credits. Tuition is $618/$675 for N.H. residents and $735/$780 for out-of- state residents. Audit and senior discounts are available.

For further information, contact Continuing Education by calling 603-358-2290
or 800-KSC-1909 or by sending e-mail to [](mailto To register online or look at the current course schedule, go to

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Keene, New Hampshire 03435