Press contact: Trish Taylor Shuman (202) 707-1940
Public contact: Joanne Rasi (202) 707-1744
American Folklife Center (202) 707-5510

May 3, 2006

American Folklife Center to Host a Mobile StoryCorps Booth to Record Washington, D.C. Stories from May 18 to May 29

Booth Returns to the Nation’s Capitol marking First Anniversary of National Tour

The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress is celebrating the first anniversary of the StoryCorps MobileBooths, a touring component of the oral history project created by award-winning National Public Radio documentary producer Dave Isay, by welcoming back a soundproof recording booth to the Library to record more first-person stories of everyday people. The Library’s American Folklife Center will receive an installment of digital oral histories of ordinary Americans collected during the tour for its Archive of Folk Culture. The booth will be stationed in front of the Library’s Madison Building at 101 Independence Ave. S.E. from May 18 to May 29. Registration for StoryCorps interviews in Washington will be available online beginning May 4 at www.storycorps.net.

In May 2005, the two StoryCorps MobileBooths left the Library of Congress to travel across the United States—one taking an Eastern route and the other covering the Western states. This inaugural tour stopped at 34 cities, and visits lasted two and three weeks, with about 100 interviews collected at each location. The American Folklife Center, now in its 30th year, houses the largest oral narrative collection in the nation. StoryCorps’s audio collection will expand the Center’s existing collection of American oral histories of the 21st century. By the end of 2006, approximately 2,000 interviews will be available for listening in the American Folklife Center Reading Room at the Library of Congress.

The stories revolve around central themes—birth, death, love, parents and children---across the spectrum of age, race and class. Within these broad themes are poignant stories that are unique and personal, yet universal. In Washington about 100 interview slots are available at the MobileBooth, where a trained facilitator will help to create a question list and handle the technical aspects of the recordings.

The American Folklife Center was created by Congress in 1976 and placed in the Library of Congress to "preserve and present American folklife" through programs of research, documentation, archival preservation, reference service, live performance, exhibition, public programs and training. The Center includes the Archive of Folk Culture, which is the repository for the StoryCorps collection. The Center’s staff will be responsible for ensuring that the collection is preserved in digital form and made accessible to the public and to future generations of descendants. Established in the Library in 1928, the Archive of Folk Culture is now one of the largest collections of ethnographic material from the United States and around the world.

StoryCorps began in 2003 and is a national initiative to instruct and inspire individuals to record oral histories and create meaningful personal experiences for the participants. With 7,000 stories already collected through four StoryCorps booths (permanent booths located at Grand Central Terminal and at Ground Zero in New York, and two MobileBooths), StoryCorps plans to collect more than 50,000 interviews over the next 10 years. Traveling to every corner of the United States, the project will continue documenting everyday history and the unique stories of grassroots America. MobileBooth supporters include the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Excerpts are heard each Friday on NPR’s flagship news magazine "Morning Edition." StoryCorps is a project of Sound Portraits Productions, a nonprofit public radio documentary production company founded by Isay; the American Folklife Center is a project partner.

American Folklife Center Web Site: www.loc.gov/folklife/

StoryCorps Web Site: storycorps.net

# # #

PR 06-075
05/03/06
ISSN 0731-3527

Back to top