Art and Culture

StoryCorps: Keeping Our Oral History Alive

Let me start off by saying I am a fan of National Public Radio. I enjoy programs like Morning Becomes Eclectic (on KCRW), This American Life, the Moth Hour and StoryCorps. There’s just something about hearing a story on the radio that is sometimes more compelling than if you were to see it on screen.

So when I got the invitation from Dan Nastika of the Discovery Science Museum in Santa Ana, to participate in a StoryCorps recording about the venerable institution, I didn’t think twice about saying YES. What’s more, I got to do the session with my good friend, fellow blogger and Orange County mom, Shelby Barone.

Marcie Taylor and Shelby Barone | StoryCorps
Photo courtesy of StoryCorps.

StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit whose mission is to provide people of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives. While I kept thinking, wow, I can be on NPR, truth is, the chances of our interview going on the air were slim. But hey, at least, we would have a recording at the Library of Congress!  You see, each StoryCorps conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Some of these “oral history projects” are broadcast on NPR’s Morning Edition.

The day before our interview/recording, Shelby texted me an urgent message – “What will you wear? “- I said, “black of course,” although at the time I thought either she didn’t realize it was an AUDIO recording or she was just being fashionable. Of course, when we got to the beautiful Dodge College of Film & Media Arts, Marion Knott Studios at Chapman University, Shelby’s eyes widened and we laughed, she didn’t realize it was just AUDIO after all and dressed really cute.

Marion Knott Studios

Our task was to interview each other about the Discovery Science Center. While it wasn’t hard to talk about the Cube, since we love the place and the people there, we were a bit worried about filling our 40 minutes and also about how we would sound on the recording.  Turns out, finding topics to chat about wasn’t hard because we’ve been members and guests at the Cube for years!  We laughed about the times we were the last to leave the museum with our children, during special events, and reminisced about our favorite exhibits like Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. We talked about our favorite permanent exhibits too (bed of nails for me, rock wall for her, eco-challenge for both of us).  Before long, the interview was over.

StoryCorps Interview

All told, it was a good time and a great way to give props to our beloved Discovery Science Museum. Plus our voices are in the Library of Congress – our story, our friendship archived for future generations. Now, that’s pretty cool.