Historical society seeks oral historians | AspenTimes.com

Historical society seeks oral historians

Eben Harrell
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Fancy yourself a gumshoe historian? If so, the Aspen Historical Society wants you.

The organization will offer two training seminars in the coming months on how to be an oral historian. The society is currently launching a research project into the history of the Snowmass Valley.

The seminars are free, but require a commitment to perform at least one oral history interview once training has been completed. Seminar participants will learn the basics of historical interviewing and transcription, following the guidelines of the American Association of State and Local Histories.

The seminars will be run by Judith Gertler, a second-home owner from Los Angeles who has extensive experience in oral history research, including a stint as a historian for “Survivors of the Shoah,” Steven Spielberg’s Holocaust project.

Once training is complete, participants will interview local elders about the history of the Snowmass Valley. The origins of Snowmass Village, the history of the Aspen Skiing Co. and Snowmass’ ranching heritage will be told through the recorded recollections of longtime residents.

“The impetus behind the project is that people are passing away and we need their stories,” Aspen Historical Society Director Jill Uris said. “History is people’s stories. That’s our mission, to preserve and communicate the history of the area.”

Once collected, the oral history of the Snowmass valley will be housed at the Aspen Historical Society’s Carriage House archives. They will be available to writers, filmmakers, Web designers, real estate agents and anyone else interested in the history of the area.

The seminars will take place from 4:30-6:30 p.m. on Feb. 19 and March 18 at the Wheeler-Stallard House on West Bleeker Street. Interested parties should call 925-3721, extension 105, to reserve a spot.

[Eben Harrell’s e-mail address is eharrell@aspentimes.com]