About the Stories Project

Who are we? The Stories Project, also called AthensStory is a project organized by historians and students at Athens State University.  The Athens State University History Department in conjunction with the College of Education works to record the oral histories of local Athenians or North Alabamians and then Athens State University’s Kares Library houses and preserves these histories in perpetuity. We are an Athens State University project. 

What are we doing? The Stories Project seeks to preserve the histories of local Athenians, affiliates and alum of Athens State University, residents of North Alabama, and of Alabama more generally. Within those groups we hope to reach out to all people, but are particularly interested in underrepresented groups – people of color and women, particularly – veterans, foreign missionaries, and anyone who has been part of or observed important historical events. But we also seek to preserve the stories of anyone and everyone who has a story to tell.

Who conducts the interviews? This is a project that benefits the Athens, Athens State, and North Alabama community, but it also benefits our future teachers and their students, as well as future historians. These interviews are conducted by either history students or history education students. As part of their studies the students are trained in how to conduct an oral history.

So how does it work? The easiest way to conduct an oral history is for the student historian to come to your home and interview you where you are most comfortable, and where it is quiet. We use a voice recorder and a microphone, but we take care of all the technical stuff. All you need to do is tell us your story.

If you prefer to do the interview outside of your home we have a portable recording studio that we would use in our library, on our campus in Athens. Interviews can take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. If you have more stories to tell we will schedule a second interview. Once the interview is completed we make the recording and a transcript of the recording available in our The Stories Project archive online. 

I’ve got nothing special to say, why should I do this? This is a common question when we ask people to sit for an oral history. The fact is that nearly everyone does have a story to tell, even if they don’t think they do. Women who have lived through the last 70 or 80 years have seen a sea change of culture. Minorities have seen much change. Many have participated in pushing for these changes. If you are a veteran, you are part of a very important history. And even if you’ve just run a family business in Athens for the last 50 years, you too have seen a lot of history. Or maybe you graduated from Athens State College, we want to preserve your experience here on campus.

What if I want to interview but don’t want my story published yet? This is common. You would simply fill out a restriction request form at the time of the interview. You can indicate a specific date that you want the oral history made available.

Interested but want to know more?  Contact us for more info. Also, feel free to visit our oral history collection to get an idea of what the final product would look like.

Contact Us

You may fill out the form to the right or you may send us an email using the email address below.

Dr. Kris Erskine
College of Education
Email: kris.erskine@athens.edu

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