Wall of Welcome

Wall of Welcome mosaic

Wall of Welcome mosaic


  At Future Perfect, the oral history workshop put on by Baylor University’s Institute of Oral History, Director Stephen Sloan turned the floor over to several attendees.  Susan and Rob Burneson, residents of the Crestview area of Austin Texas, talked about their neighborhood’s one-year-old mosaic wall of local history.

 “Crestview was founded in the 1950’s, but the first residents are leaving or dying,” Susan told us. “New families are moving in who don’t know the area history. So we decided to do a documentary about the Wall of Welcome dedication. We added the personal histories of many residents and the history of the neighborhood.” All the interviews were recorded as videos, with the aid of wireless microphones. 

“We had no idea how long it was going to take us to edit the film,” Rob said. “While many were shorter, one interview was 2.5 hours long. It was really cathartic for that woman to tell her story.”  DVD copies of all the interviews conducted by the Crestview collaborators have been donated to a local history center and library.  The Wall of Welcome has gotten much play locally and around the country.


Digitizing Oral History – What I learned in Waco

The Baylor University Future Perfect workshop was an amazing experience. I learned all the technical details about choosing digital history equipment such as recorders and microphones, but I also made some great contacts.

One of the first resources mentioned at the workshop was H-Oralhist, a network for scholars and professionals active in studies related to oral history. It is affiliated with the Oral History Association.




I met Esther Camacho, visiting Assistant Professor at Texas A&M Kingsville, and Sandra Rexroad, Director of the University’s South Texas Archives and Special Collections.   I had lunch with two administrators at the Round Rock, TX library who are overseeing the daunting task of preserving through digitization the archived publications of the local Round Rock Leader newspaper.  I heard several presentations of unique oral history projects, which I’ll be talking about at length in later posts.

I also got some time to explore Waco and Baylor University. I walked its campus extensively, and spent two great hours at the Texas Ranger Museum. If you’re ever in Waco don’t miss this!

Headed to Oral History Workshop

Baylor University's Future Perfect Workshop

Baylor University's Future Perfect Workshop

 I’m headed to Baylor University in Waco Texas on January 17, to attend FUTURE PERFECT: Retooling Oral History in the Digital Age. Hosted by the BU Institute for Oral History, this one-day workshop will help me and the other Yore Town creators learn about

• recording techniques
• transcribing digital recordings
• editing digital audio/video recordings
• digitizing analog tapes
• creating and managing metadata
• making collections accessible online
• managing workflow for digital collections
• designing and publishing digital documentaries and Web sites

Presenters include Stephen Sloan, Director of Baylor’s Institute of Oral History and Dan Cohen, Director of the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. Cohen is also co-editor of Digital History: a Guide to Gathering, Preserving and Presenting The Past on The Web.