As the oldest and second largest oral history program in the UW System, OHP guarantees that a diverse set of local perspectives shaping daily life will survive for people to access in the future. OHP makes sure community members’ memories are not lost. Oral histories are precious artifacts that reveal how individuals understood their own time and place. Without them we cannot really know, or understand, our own past.
OHP trains UWL students in vital career-readiness skills. When they graduate, they put their preservation skills to use wherever their next chapter takes them. Since 2016, OHP has offered paid internships to fourteen students who have gone on to careers as high school teachers, archivists and museum curators, HR professionals, and grant compliance officers.
The preservation work we do at OHP is highly skilled and time intensive. Much of OHP’s collection of 900+ oral histories are currently preserved on cassette tapes. Our goal is to make as much of our collection as possible available for online streaming through Murphy Library’s Digital Collections web portal.
The preservation work OHP does is vital. But it’s also expensive: it costs nearly $48 of student intern labor to preserve a one-hour oral history recording in our collection. While UWL’s History Department provides OHP with an Executive Director and UWL’s Murphy Library provides OHP’s physical and online archiving space, the preservation work done by our student interns is funded through gifts to the Endowment. Financial support from donors has kept OHP going for decades, and your tax-deductible contributions are essential for our future work.
Read more about the program here.
2023 ONE DAY FOR UWL Oral History Project Challenge: An anonymous donor will match the first $250 given to OHP!