You’re Invited to a Community Conversation – August 25, 7:00pm

August 19, 2016 7:16 pm Published by

We’re rolling out the red carpet for the premiere of our newest program – and you’re invited!

Last spring, we told you about our partnership with the Smithsonian’s Museums on Main Street program to bring the incredible Hometown Teams exhibit to the Twin Cities. Lucky for us, our partnership with the Smithsonian Institution didn’t end there! The Heritage Museum was one of only six organizations nationwide to receive a 2016 Youth Access Grant from the Smithsonian Institution. The grant provided the Museum with new user-friendly technology for recording and editing oral histories.

Oral histories are recorded interviews conducted by historians to collect a person’s memories, stories, and experiences. These interviews can help expand our understanding of historic people, places, events and cultures.  They can also help us tell stories that don’t get included in history textbooks very often – the stories of small towns, inner cities, and everyday people of all backgrounds.

Frederick S. Upton Fellow Claire Herhold (R) covers the basics of oral history with the 2016 Youth Ambassadors.

The Smithsonian’s Youth Access Grant is specifically designed to help young people connect to local history in their community. It does this by assisting with the purchase of technology that allows interviews to be recorded and preserved in very high quality.  The Smithsonian then helps preserve the oral histories for future generations.


2016 Youth Ambassadors Lauren Cook (L) and Qiyamah Muhammad (R) practicing interviewing one another during technology training.

Here at the Heritage Museum, we’ve named our oral history program the “Youth Ambassadors,” as we hope the high school students who participate will use oral history to connect with community members as ambassadors of the museum and its mission.  These projects also allow the Youth Ambassadors to gain important skills in research, interpersonal communication, and multimedia production while learning about the past and creating valuable local history resources. By practicing these skills, our participants will be well prepared for success and leadership in the future.


Ambassador Kaila Nichols (R) interviews Miriam Pede at the Heritage Museum.

The inaugural crew of Youth Ambassadors is made up of five incredibly talented young women from the Twin Cities.  We hope that you’ll join us at the museum on Thursday, August 25, at 7:00pm for an informal group discussion and brainstorming session.  Our 2016 Youth Ambassadors will kick off the August 25 program by presenting selected video excerpts from interviews they recorded this summer. The Community Conversation is intended to generate ideas and connections for planning further youth projects in the community.


Our Ambassadors listen attentively at the technology training session at the Apple Store in Mishawaka, Indiana.

We hope to see all of you at on August 25 for a Community Conversation about the incredible work our 2016 Youth Ambassadors have done – and more ideas for future youth projects and topics to be explored! RSVP is not necessary, but if you’d like, you can let us know you’ll be attending on our Facebook event.

For more information, please contact Heritage Museum Curator Tracy Gierada at or (269) 983-1191, ext. 17.