StoryCorps Marks Two Years of Listening This week marks the second anniversary of StoryCorps, the oral history project collecting this nation's stories in sound. StoryCorps explores the idea that the stories we find all around us are as interesting and important as the stories of celebrities and statesmen that dominate the media.
NPR logo StoryCorps Marks Two Years of Listening

StoryCorps Marks Two Years of Listening

On the Western tour: the StoryCorps mobile booth makes a stop in Portland, Ore. StoryCorps hide caption

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StoryCorps

A look at the mobile StoryCorps booth under construction, left; and getting it's finishing touches, at right. StoryCorps hide caption

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StoryCorps

A look at the mobile StoryCorps booth under construction, left; and getting it's finishing touches, at right.

StoryCorps

StoryCorps explores the notion that the stories we find all around us are as interesting and important as the stories of celebrities and statesmen that dominate the media.

Stalwarts of Oral History

Kennedy on StoryCorps

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Studs Terkel came to the opening of the first Grand Central Booth in New York City two years ago. Stetson Kennedy attended the launch of StoryCorps' mobile tour in Washington, D.C., in May.

Studs Terkel on StoryCorps

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This week marks the second anniversary of StoryCorps, the oral history project collecting this nation's stories in sound. Over the past two years, StoryCorps has facilitated thousands of conversations- between parents and children, husbands and wives, grandparents and grandchildren, close friends -- many of which have aired on NPR.

The major impetus behind starting StoryCorps was to give families the opportunity to come together and hold the conversations they’ve always wanted to and for these same interviews to have some historic value. Like the recordings of the Works Progress Administration of the early 20th century, all of the interviews are archived at the Library of Congress.

StoryCorps launched in October 2003, with a recording booth in New York City’s Grand Central Terminal. As of May 2005, StoryCorps went national! Two mobile recording booths are touring the country, collecting the stories of everyday people across America.

The MobileBooths are modified Airstream trailers that contain a soundproof studio with room to seat three people comfortably (two participants and a facilitator). The MobileBooths travel from town to town, partnering with local public radio stations at each two- to three-week stop.

At the invitation of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, StoryCorps opened its second permanent booth in July of 2005, at the World Trade Center site. Families are given special access to this booth to remember those who were lost in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The booth is also open to the general public. StoryCorps-WTC is a powerful symbol of remembrance and a safe place for families to commemorate their loved ones.

While the Grand Central StoryBooth was the first permanent facility, StoryCorps plans to open soundproof recording booths across the country, where Americans can bring older relatives -- or other loved ones -- to conduct broadcast-quality oral-history interviews with the guidance of a trained facilitator. StoryCorps is proving to be a powerful experiment in democracy, history, and memory in the digital age.