Team Works To Record Oral History of Yosemite

In History, News

Paul Rogers and his team are undertaking a very ambitious project, recording Yosemite’s oral history.

UnionDemocrat: “‘The park has never really had a formal oral history,’ Rogers said. ‘We’re looking for personal voices among a cross-section of people.’

Rogers said his team plans to interview former and current National Park Service and concession employees, longtime park residents and members of neighboring communities with significant connections to the park.

‘We’re not ruling anything out,’ he said.

Rogers said he came up with a list of questions about a year ago and began prioritizing potential interviewees based on age and health.

About five months ago, his team received $16,000 in funding to buy high-definition digital video and audio equipment. The team started interviewing people late last year.

So far, they’ve filmed three people, including Julia Parker, a park ranger famous for making traditional Native American baskets.

Rogers expects filming will take three to five years to complete.

The project, dubbed ‘I Remember Yosemite,’ will explore four main themes: technological change, evolution of park management, environmental change and the development of community life in the park.

Rogers’ team, which includes assistant archivist Brenna Lissoway and two technicians, will interview people at the park or travel to their homes.

The film crew is only conducting interviews within the region right now, but plans to travel across the country for interviews once their budget allows.

Crew members also plan to transcribe the audio interviews.

The oral history project will be used by researchers, genealogists and others interested in park history in addition to museum exhibits and various park programs. “

If you would like to nominate someone for you can contact Paul Rogers at 379-1282 or Brenna Lissoway at 379-1283. Or e-mail them at Paul_Rogers@nps.gov or Brenna_Lissoway@nps.gov.

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