We Are Historians - Now It's Your Turn


Anyone can create an oral history project! Through this activity you can learn how to verbally interview and listen carefully to others. Oral history interviews are a great way to connect with and appreciate the experiences of people who are older or have a different background. After you've completed your oral history, check out our post-interview project suggestions, then click here to share your project with us! 

You’ll Need: 

  • A way to record your interview. You can use one of the following apps on your computer or phone:  

    • Voice Memo app on iPhone 

    • DU Recorder (Android, iPhone, and PC) 

    • AZ Screen Recorder (Android and iPhone) 


Get Started!

Step 1:  Set It Up 

Choose your interview subject—this can be someone that you’re at home with or someone you want to interview on the phone or via video chat. It can be someone you know really well, like a parent or sibling, or someone you’d like to get to know better.  

Step 2:  Welcome to the Interview 

Try to find a quiet time and place to meet with your interviewee. Make your interviewee comfortable—ask how their day has been and thank them for spending time with you! Tell them why you are interested in hearing stories about their life. Make sure to get your interviewee's permission before you begin the interview.  

Step 3:  Ask Away! 

Get your recording device (or pen and paper) ready, then start your interview. Begin by stating your name, the date, and your interviewee’s name. Then, start asking your questions. Try to not rush your interviewee. Give them time to reflect and answer your questions fully. 

Step 4:  Thank You 

After you’ve finished asking your questions, be sure to thank the interviewee for taking the time to share their memories with you!  

Step 5:  Reflect 

Take time to listen to your audio or video recording, or look at your notes. Was there anything that surprised you in their answers? Did the answers you received give you a new perspective?  Did you learn more about your family or community? 

 Step 6:  Share 

We’d love to know how your oral history interview went! Did you learn a fun fact? Did you have fun? Please connect and share with us—send us stories, drawings, recordings, or anything else related to oral histories you’ve done and we may post it on our website! Click here to share. 




Suggested Interview Questions

  • Tell me about the house you grew up in. 
  • What was your neighborhood like?  
  • What city were you born in?   
  • What were you like as a kid? 
  • What is/was your favorite subject in school?  
  • Do/did you have a favorite teacher?  
  • What were your favorite things to do when you were my age?  
  • What were your favorite games to play when you were young?  
  • Tell me about your parents. Where and when were they born?  
  • Tell me about your grandparents. What are your favorite memories of your grandparents?  



Post-Interview Project Suggestions

There are lots of things to do with your oral history after you’re finished interviewing your subject. You can 

  • write a biography of your subject 
  • edit your interview into short clips that you can upload to your social media channels and share with us
  • draw a picture based on a story that your subject described 
  • write a pretend newspaper article or blog post about something that your subject talked about 
  • pretend that your interview subject is a superhero and draw a comic strip about their adventures 
  • use the information from the oral history you just did to research your ancestry on a website 



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