Museums - Oral History Program

Ketchikan Museums - Oral History Program

Ketchikan Museums Oral History Program works to preserve the rich memories of our community by providing resources and instruction on how to record oral histories, training people who would like to volunteer as interviewers and by actively collecting, preserving, and listening to the unique voices of Ketchikan.  

Upcoming Oral History Workshops

How to Conduct Oral History- Workshop 

Interested in interviewing others or have some great stories to tell? Help collect, honor and celebrate the rich intangible memories of our community by learning how to collect oral histories. Whether you want to volunteer as part of Ketchikan Museums’ Oral History Program, or just learn how to have more meaningful conversations with family and friends, join us for virtual workshops:

• Saturday, November 14 at 11:00 AM

• Wednesday, November 18 at 6:30 PM

• Thursday, December 10 at 10:00 AM

Contact Erika Jayne Christian to sign up for an Oral History Workshop: 907.228.2792 or


How to Record Your Oral History

You can record an oral history using your smartphone, tablet, computer, or other recording device. Find a quiet space, hold the recorder within 2 feet of the person speaking, and record!

Record on Phone/Tablet:

Many smartphones and tablets have built in voice recording apps. On iOS, the default app is Voice Memos. Android phones do not have a default app, but you can download one for free—Voice Recorder and Voice Record Pro are two options.

Record on Computer:

Apple computers have the built-in voice recording app, Voice Memos. Windows machines use the built-in program, Voice Recorder. If you wanted to record a video of your oral history, you could create a recording using Zoom or simply take a video with your mobile phone.

Other Recording Device:

Ketchikan Museums can make available a dedicated recording device for those that wish to be trained in its use. Trained staff and volunteers can also help facilitate scheduled interviews as requested. 

Saving your files:

Save your audio and video files in any of the following file types: .mov., .mp3, .mp4, .avi, and .wmv.  

How to Upload Your Oral History

Google Forms:

If you use Gmail or have a Google account, simply click the "Submit Oral History" link below to share your files with us.  

Cloud Storage Services:

There are numerous free services that will allow you to save and share your photo, video, or audio files from the cloud. Dropbox, Media Fire, pCloud, and Nextcloud are all possible free options for you. Just create an account, upload your file, copy the link for the file, then email the link to us! 

After you email us the cloud link, click the "Submit Oral History" link below to provide your basic contact information with us. Disregard the Google Forms option to upload files.

We are here to help!

Not a techy person? Museum staff are on hand to help you with this process if needed.  Please call 907.225.5900 or email for assistance!

A few things to know before recording your Oral History:

  • If you record on multiple dates, please be sure to include the date and time at the beginning of any new recording sessions.
  • Oral histories are most beneficial when as much information and detail as possible is provided, for example place names, full names, events, dates, etc.
  • Please remember that any answers you give will be included in a publicly accessible database, so do not share any information that you would not like to be publicly available.


Submit Oral History

Oral History Program Resources

Oral History Project: COVID-19

How has COVID-19 impacted your life?

Our Oral History Project is a way for Ketchikan Museums to archive this time in our community's history and a way for you to share your stories online during (and after) social distancing. As a museum, it is our responsibility and privilege to collect and share the history and culture of our region. 

We look forward to hearing your stories. Should you have any additional questions, please call the Programs team at 907.225.5900.


What to Say in an Oral History

Tell us your story!  But not sure what to talk about? We have come up with a few questions for you to answer that will help us better understand how people experienced the COVID-19 pandemic.

Start with the date, time, and your name (and please spell out your name as well so we can be sure to get it right), then answer as many of the questions below as you'd like:

  • How do you spend your time day-to-day?  How is that different now during the COVID-19 outbreak?
  • When you first learned about COVID-19, what were your thoughts about it?  How have your thoughts changed since then? 
  • Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your job or the employment of people you know?  In what ways?
  • What have been the biggest challenges that you have faced during the COVID-19 outbreak?
  • What have you, your family, and friends done to keep busy during the COVID-19 outbreak?
  • “Self isolation” and “flattening the curve” have been two key ideas that have emerged during the pandemic. How have you, your family, friends, and community responded to requests to “self isolate” and “flatten the curve”?
  • Have you or anybody you know gotten sick during the COVID-19 outbreak? 
  • Do you have any thoughts on how local, state, or federal leaders are responding to the crisis differently?
  • Has your experience transformed how you think about your family, friends, and community? In what ways?
  • Knowing what you know now, what do you think that individuals, communities, or governments need to keep in mind for the future? 

-Submit COVID-19 Oral History