Oral History Project

Since 2016 a group of dedicated volunteers at the Museum have been tirelessly working in the Museum on our Oral History project. Working alongside the Curatorial and Community development departments, our group of volunteers drew up lists and approached people who have worked within the motor industry to collect a series of Oral History interviews.

When I started working with the Oral History team in early 2017 they had already gathered a staggering 60 sessions with people in the local area, some of these interviews being well over two hours long!

The oral history project itself has been such an important one for us, and not only because it has been so long in the making, but because it is a way for us to give a voice to the workers in the motor industry, who ordinarily may not have their stories recorded. They can also provide us with new insights and information, and give us an opportunity to question against what we already know and believe.

It is a project we are very proud of, and it actually won an award in September last year. Volunteer Vince Hall, who has pioneered and supported all the work on the Oral History Project, was recognised by the West Midlands Museum Development Team at their volunteer awards for the incredibly important contributions he has made to the accessibility of our collections, and their legacy.

When I joined in to help the team it was decided that we wanted to get this hard work out into the Museum, so our visitors could hear the rich stories and interesting tales that had been collected. Alongside the team I listened to the interviews already collected and drew up some summary topic areas that we could select nice soundbites from.

I am thrilled to say that at the end of last year we were able to complete this stage in our Oral History project and there are now two podiums out in the Museum! But the work hasn’t ended there! Vince and his team are continuing to find and interview more people so we can diversify the clips on show. Who knows what else might happens to all the information we have collected in the future…watch this space!

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