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Engaging Audiences: Oral History and the Public

2017 Annual Meeting
October 4-7, 2017
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Hilton Minneapolis Hotel

The 2017 theme is Engaging Audiences: Oral History and the Public, and program chairs Dan Kerr and Rachel Seidman have developed a stimulating program sure to engage the archivists, historians, cultural producers, activists, scholars, teachers and others who join us.

Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer Jill Lepore, the author of books including Joe Gould’s Teeth and The Secret History of Wonder Woman, will deliver the meeting’s keynote luncheon address. Plenary sessions will honor the life and pioneering work of the scholar-activist duo Alice and Staughton Lynd, who have helped to both document and organize antiwar, civil rights, labor and other social justice movements over their long careers, and explore the importance of documentary work in the age of Black Lives Matter and Standing Rock.

In response to members’ feedback from recent annual meetings, we have made a few changes to the meeting schedule. We will kick off the conference with Wednesday evening receptions sponsored by the International Committee and the Diversity Committee followed by a variety of film and performance sessions. Three full days of sessions will follow from Thursday through Saturday. The Presidential Reception on Thursday night will be at the Mill City Museum, a stunning facility built on the ruins of what was once the largest flour mill in the country on the banks of the Mississippi River.

The OHA business meeting will be held on Saturday morning, and we will not schedule concurrent sessions on Sunday. We will use that time instead to offer a professional development opportunity on Sunday morning that will be free and open to all conference attendees in the form of an OHMS workshop. OHMS, the Oral History Metadata Synchronizer, is an open-source, web-based application designed to enhance user access to oral histories online created by the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky Libraries.

A compelling slate of Wednesday workshops is offered including Creating Digital Exhibits Using Oral History, Podcasting I and II, and Oral History and Social Change. Teacher workshops offered on Saturday are open to the local community and will introduce educators to oral history and how it can enhance your classroom. Three tours developed by the local arrangements committee will allow attendees to explore the Twin Cities: “On the Avenue”: Franklin Avenue, Minneapolis’ American Indian Cultural Corridor, Historic St. Paul Pub Crawl, and Immigrant Stories: A Walking Tour of Eat Street.

Our host hotel, the recently renovated Hilton Minneapolis, is in the downtown arts and entertainment district adjacent to Nicollet Mall, the city’s original commercial district, which is now a 12-block long, pedestrian-friendly stretch of Nicollet Avenue full of historic architecture, restaurants, art galleries and shops. Minneapolis-St. Paul as a whole is a diverse and thriving place with a convenient light rail system that makes travel between downtown Minneapolis and the airport (among other destinations) a breeze, so we encourage meeting attendees to save some time to explore the area. The fall weather promises to be spectacular. We look forward to seeing you there!