Are you ready to become a citizen historian?
Think of the five most interesting people you know. Now imagine what a tragedy it would be if their memories were lost forever. You can prevent this from happening, starting today. And it costs you nothing.
How can I find a story?
Everyone lives through history, and people share stories all the time–at family gatherings, dinners, bars, on the phone, on blogs, even via text messages. ” You probably heard a great anecdote just last week. All you need to do is let someone know you think their story is important, and ask them to tell it again.
Citizen historians identify the stories that are valuable and interesting to others. And you decide to take action.
If you think a story is important, it is. And it is worth preserving.
Every story starts with a question
Ask them a good question to start the conversation. In addition to the story you already know, probe a little deeper … browse the list below for inspiration.
It’s up to you to decide what the world will remember.
- How did ____ affect your life? (World War II/Martin Luther King’s assassination/ the 11 September attacks, etc)
- Did you demonstrate or take civil action for or against _______? (Vietnam war, welfare cuts, sit-ins, Gulf War, picketing mine closures, Freedom Rides, gender equality, LGTB rights, civil rights, etc)
- What was the impact of a significant election in your community?
- What events led your family to decide to leave their city or country?
- How has your city/village/neighborhood changed in your lifetime?
- How did your family manage during the _______? (Great Depression, postwar period, strikes, etc)
- How has a family heirloom survived?
- How was marriage in _____ different from marriage today? (the 1920s, 1960s, etc)
- How has parenting changed through the generations in your family?
- Were there different expectations of sons and daughters in your family?
- How were festivals and holidays celebrated differently from today? (Christmas, Eid, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, Guy Fawkes etc)
- Where did you go or what did you do for entertainment when you were young?
- What was the thing you remember most about school/your teachers/learning?
- How have you seen language change in your lifetime / how is it different to that of your grandparents?
- What role did religion play in your childhood neighborhood?
- What world or local events have shaped your business?
- How has your industry changed over your career?
- Have working benefits or conditions changed in your line of work?
- What was the most important moment of your career?
- What was the best joke anyone ever made about your job?
- What happened to your area when the ____ was built? (dam, shopping mall, highway etc)
- How has your local forest changed in the last decades?
- How did you survive the ____? (flood, hurricane, tornado, etc)
- What plants or crops were cultivated in your area as a child?
- What was visiting the doctor like as a child?
- How did the introduction of public health insurance affect you?
- What were the local/home remedies for ailments?
- What is/was it like to live with a partner with a serious/chronic illness?
- What technology has been most impactful in your life?
- When did you first have access to the internet and how did you use it?
- What was different about television when you were young?
- How did you communicate with your first love? (e-mail, letters, telegrams etc.)
- When did you purchase music for the first time, and how did you listen to it?
- How did electricity change life in your village?