Everyone has a story to tell and they can tell it at The Children’s Museum exhibit Stories from Our Community. Opened in September 2012, it uses oral history to illustrate the value of storytelling in documenting personal and community histories.
The museum has a tradition of using oral history as the basis for exhibits. Previously Story Avenue: African American Voices That Teach Us All, which opened in 1995, and Pastimes, which opened in 1984, used recorded stories to teach visitors about other people, times, and experiences.
Like its predecessors, Stories from Our Community relies on recorded stories from people from diverse communities, alongside objects to helpvisitors learn about other people’s cultures, experiences, and perspectives. The initial selection included a Civil War-era quilt passed through eight generations of a family, examples of an art form created and continued by a family of Mexican artists, and a book that binds together a grandmother, mother, and daughter.
The museum changes the stories and objects in the exhibit periodically, but all of the stories collected remain available in an online archive. The archive is part of a Stories from Our Community website, which also offers children and families a chance to tell their own stories. To hear the stories collected so far—and add your own, if you wish—go to http://www.childrensmuseum.org/stories-archived.