Sound Recordings as Primary Sources

Mar 1, 2024

Learning with the Vermont Folklife Archive and Teaching with Primary Sources

Tuesday, March 12, 2024, 3:30 – 5:30 pm EST

This workshop is FREE thanks to generous funding from the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Program. When you think about primary sources, what are some of the first things that come to mind? Historical documents? Old photographs? Diaries?  How about…sound recordings? Join Vermont Folklife for an online professional learning workshop for educators. Learn how to access, engage with, and teach from oral histories and more from the Vermont Folklife Archive.

VT Folklife is in the third year of a project funded by the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Program focused on making ethnographic and oral history archives accessible to classroom teachers.

As part of this project this workshop will:

  • Introduce learning resources and curriculum developed with our project partners at Local Learning, the national network for folk arts in education

  • Offer strategies to introduce students to the value and function of archives and archival research

  • Provide a brief overview of ethnographic and oral history methodologies to better understand the unique nature of these primary sources

  • Invite participants to become involved in our efforts to make our archival collections more accessible and useful to educators

Ethnographic sound recordings–including oral history interviews, musical performances and soundscapes–are distinct kinds of primary sources: they are first-hand accounts created with the intention of documenting human experience. Contemporary ethnographic and oral history work is highly collaborative, and the new knowledge that emerges through them can be seen as co-created by the researcher and the interviewee.

For decades Vermont Folklife has engaged with communities around the state to document people’s experiences in their own words, on their own terms, using the tools of ethnography and oral history. Our Archive holds over 6,000 audio-recorded interviews created from the late 1940s through the present day that explore the unfolding culture of Vermont across the 20th and 21st centuries.

Register for free: