Maryland Voices

Sharing Stories, Building Community

Maryland Humanities brings oral history training to schools and communities with Maryland Voices, an oral history project. Maryland Humanities staff and WYPR’s Aaron Henkin (creator of the award-winning series, Out of the Blocks) lead workshops in schools, libraries, and other community settings.

Workshop leaders introduce groups to oral history techniques and best practices and guide participants in formulating questions and the art of listening. Participants then interview one another. Past workshops have included veterans and high school students. Anticipated future workshops will highlight collecting histories from and by people with disabilities, the formerly incarcerated, immigrants, and others; any group interested will be considered.

Learning how to collect and analyze first-hand experiences helps all participants better understand how history is recorded, why it is valuable, and the concrete ways events impact the lives of individuals. Beyond the historical research skills participants gain through creating original research, oral history builds life skills like empathy, critical reading, self-confidence, intergenerational engagement, and more.

Current Projects

In 2021, Maryland Humanities’ Museum on Main Street and Maryland Voices programs and The Peale collaborated on a story collection project in conjunction with the current statewide tour of the Smithsonian traveling exhibition, Voices and Votes: Democracy in America. The exhibition will tour five Maryland regions, and will feature interviews with newly minted voters (ages 18–24) from those communities. These stories will be shared through the Peale’s “Be Here Stories” app, at a listening station that will become part of the Voices and Votes exhibition, on the Maryland Humanities YouTube channel and elsewhere.

Maryland Voices is supported in part by

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  • I enjoyed it very much and I learned quite a lot. I think there is a lot that can be learned from these experiences and I think this could be a positive experience for the veterans also.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student participant
  • “[In Veterans Book Group,] I learned a different way to explain combat experience to one who has never been in the service.”

    Veterans Book Group participant
  • “Talking with students also helps those of us who have said little about our combat experiences because, in a sense, we feel guilty about why others died and not us/me? So, to be able to talk about it helps the veterans. The opportunity you provided to both students and veterans is wonderful and I do hope that our messages are meaningful to students.”

    ​Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, veteran participant
  • We were really moved by the testimony of the veterans and impressed by the professionalism and dedication of the students.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, parent
  • “I met some great people, read books I might never have otherwise, [and] had great discussion.”

    Veterans Book Group participant
  • “I feel more connected to history.”

    ​Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student participant
  • I enjoyed it as much as the students.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, veteran participant
  • I felt that I had a very unique oral history experience. It was very emotional and I feel that I learned valuable information. I got to learn stories and practice skills that normally I wouldn’t have been comfortable with.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student participant
  • We were enabled to go into the community and get information from real people. Also, the assignment was pretty subjective so we were able to take it in any way we liked. We led the projects and each one is so different from the next.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student participant
  • We were really moved by the testimony of the veterans and impressed by the professionalism and dedication of the students.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, parent
  • “This was the first time I felt comfortable admitting that I was a female Viet Nam vet!”

    Veterans Book Group participant
  • “[In Veterans Book Group,] I considered other perspectives both of other service members and others who did not serve.”

    Veterans Book Group participant
  • It’s different from other projects because I actually got to interact with someone and get information from something other than a history book.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, student participant
  • “It was an interesting thing to do. The process of digging through photos, souvenirs, copies of old orders, and other memorabilia was meaningful after 43 years. I WAS impressed with all of the students I met.”

    ​Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, veteran participant
  • I just wanted to tell you, I really enjoyed the visit…Your students were wonderful and the questions were fair and good. I enjoyed the experience and hope it will helpful to your classroom experience…I like it when students ask questions on things they may have wondered about. Again it was a wonderful experience with your students and a great project for them. To see and talk to real Vietnam vets is important to get real stories…it is a really worthwhile experience for the students “as well” as us Vietnam vets.

    Standing Together: Veterans Oral History Project, veteran participant
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Maryland Humanities is a statewide, educational nonprofit organization that creates and supports bold experiences that explore and elevate our shared stories to connect people, enhance lives, and enrich communities.
Maryland Humanities
108 West Centre Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201-4565
(410) 685-0095
(410) 685-0795 fax
info@mdhumanities.org
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