Oral and Visual History Project

Oral & Visual History Project

The preservation and presentation of the immigrant experience in the United States is a central commitment of the New Americans Museum’s mission. We are dedicated to insuring that individual stories are safeguarded in the Oral and Visual Histories archives as enduring testaments to our immigrant roots as a culture and a nation. Many immigrants endured tremendous hardships on journeys lasting months and sometimes years. The risks, challenges, losses and triumphs that fill their remembrances bear eloquent tribute to the resiliency of the human spirit.

Collecting Stories of Migration

The Oral and Visual Histories Project collects personal narratives of immigrants to the United States. The Museum’s goal is to establish a comprehensive archive that will make each participant’s history readily available to their family and descendents; their communities; interested researchers and the general public. The archived histories will be preserved in audio and digital video formats. They will be accessible through interactive exhibits, and also available to a potentially limitless audience on the Museum’s website.i_people

An advisory council of scholars, immigrant leaders, and media experts will provide ongoing guidance to help insure that interviews are conducted with culturally and historically appropriate insight and sensitivity. As the project develops, our diverse array of interviewers will include community members, graduate students and others working in conjunction with museum staff and academic advisors to conduct a range of dialogues with subjects from many different immigrant backgrounds. The result will be a unique and invaluable oral history data base.

Donations and Linkages

The archive’s reach will be expanded by the addition of the oral and visual histories of a variety of immigrants conducted by researchers and community members under their own auspices and then donated to the Museum. We will also link with existing online archives of immigrant narratives in hopes of providing interested individuals and institutions with the broadest possible picture of the immigrant experience.

How You Can Be Part of the Project?

  • Contact us to share your own first or second generation migration story.
  • Conduct oral and visual histories with new immigrants and refugees.
  • Donate oral and visual histories that you have compiled.
  • Connect us with your own collections through online linkages and other means.