Audio Recordings, by Town:
About the Gateway Digital History Project
The Gateway Digital History Project (GDHProject) was conceived during the 2016-2017 school year. It is based in the Gateway Regional High School Library and overseen by District Librarian, Bill Brown. Following (loosely) the model laid out by NPR's "StoryCorp", Mr. Brown and student interns conduct interviews (or supervise conversations) with and between community-members about their experiences growning up, living, and working in the Gateway district (which includes the towns of Russell, Huntington, Chester, Montgomery, Blandford, Worthington, and Middlefield.
The goals of the project are to achieve the following:
- To record and archive stories and histories of local community members. Much of the rich local history of the Gateway community is not written down or recorded anywhere. It resides in the memories and experiences of those living here. As this community ages or moves away, that history is lost, unless it is recorded and archived so that others can hear, watch, and benefit from it.
- To provide students, teachers, and others with a living, relatable, and engaging context for understanding the community in which they live / work. Hearing stories from local community members (who many of them know from around the area) creates a stronger and more human bond with the past than any impersonal text. It also provides nuance and depth that cannot be found in traditional histories.
- To bring community-members closer together by breaking down invisible generational, social, and location-based barriers between neighbors, expanding empathy and understanding within the Gateway area. So often, members of a community view each other one-dimensionally, based on assumptions and stereotypes about the other. Oral histories and intergenerational conversations break down these stereotypes and help to build meaningful relationships based on understanding and empathy.
- To provide teachers and students with an "oral textbook" of local history to use in the classroom to better tie their experiences and those of their neighbors to the larger community and national and world history. It is our hope that these recordings can be used in classrooms for a variety of subject areas to build understanding of various issues and eras and to build bridges between the classroom and the local community. We hope that the use of these recordings might inspire teachers / students to invite community-members into their classrooms to share their knowlege and experiences.