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A Miami University Bicentennial Legacy Project
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About Miami Stories

Coordinated by the University Archives, Miami Stories invites groups of people who have experiences in common – students, faculty, staff, and alumni – to offer recollections of their Miami years and to hear reminiscences of others with whom they shared them.  A Bicentennial legacy project that began in 2005, Miami Stories discussions are recorded and stored on digital video formats so that future generations may enjoy and study them, and scholars may have ready access to unique information about Miami’s past.

Project coordinators are Valerie Elliott and Jenny Presnell of the University Libraries.  Working with an advisory committee of Library personnel and faculty, and with the assistance of Program Associate Gayle Brown, they oversee the project, plan and schedule interviews.  In a story circle, a prepared moderator conducts a conversation in which participants recall stories about their common experiences.  Since April 2006, forty-two sessions have been recorded, including thirty-two story circles and ten individual interviews. The premiere event was a story circle of former President Phillip R. Shriver and his Cabinet at WMUB Studios, produced by Andy Marko and students in the Department of Communication. That story circle has aired on WMUB Channel 15 cable television.  Follow-up interviews were also conducted with all cabinet members, in most cases with their wives.  Dr. James Garland and spouse Dr. Carol Garland were interviewed in the last days of his presidency, and President David Hodge and Valerie Hodge were interviewed shortly after they took office. 

At each Reunion Weekend two interview teams conduct story circles with diverse groups, including members of the Campus Owls dance band, fraternities, the Hughes Society of 50-year alumni, Miami Student newspaper staff, Alumni Band, Black Alumni, EDL alumni, and people who dropped in on open sessions. An interview was conducted with the first known African-American woman to live in a Miami residence hall. A contact made during Reunion Weekend led to an interview with an alumna who attended Miami during World War II.  Recent story circles have been recorded with members of the final McGuffey Laboratory School faculty, McGuffey School students who completed eighth grade in 1971, former African-American faculty and staff and former Student Affairs staff.

The Libraries Digital Initiatives personnel edit recordings and transfer them to archival medium before sending copies to the Miami Archives and the Southwest Ohio Regional Depository at Middletown.  Miami Stories also has a retrospective component; Digital Initiatives is digitizing and indexing many cassette and open-reel oral history recordings created as early as the 1950s.