StoryCorps has parked its mobile recording studio on Veterans Plaza and is now booking appointments for residents who want to record their stories for posterity and possible broadcast.
StoryCorps was founded 15 years ago with the idea of collecting and preserving American stories, conducted in the form of a conversation typically held between two friends or relatives.
“The idea is to give everyday Americans, from all different backgrounds and beliefs, the opportunity to sit down and record an uninterrupted conversation with someone from their life,” said Jacqueline Van Meter, StoryCorps’ mobile tour site manager during yesterday’s opening day.
“Something really special takes place when people really do step away from the distractions of day-to-day life and sit down and ask these sorts of intentional questions that in any other situation they may not have the time to ask,” Van Meter continued.
“Things like ‘Are you proud of me?’, or ‘What’s your favorite memory of me?’, or ‘What makes us such good friends?’, or my personal favorite, ‘Is there anything that you’ve never told me that you want to tell me now?’” she added.
StoryCorps partners with National Public Radio and NPR stations around the country to share some of these stories via weekly NPR broadcasts, animated shorts, digital platforms and books. If participants agree, all StoryCorps interviews are archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.
In Silver Spring, StoryCorps is working with WAMU-FM and collecting 140 interviews with area residents between now and May 22.
Reemberto Rodriguez, Silver Spring’s regional services director, welcomed the StoryCorps team yesterday, saying, “Our Silver Spring stories will not disappoint.
“We have a complicated, incomplete and imperfect history here in Silver Spring,” he continued. “Together, we are trying to make of this vibrant, thriving, intensely diverse community a place we can all call home . . . a place where we can share equitably, be just with each other, and build what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called ‘a beloved community.’”
Registration for appointments between now and May 22 opened at 10 a.m. this morning online. While Van Meter said bookings typically fill rapidly, cancellations are common and anyone who is unable to make an appointment should be sure to sign up for the waiting list.
In addition, for those who can’t do an onsite interview, StoryCorps offers an app for Apple devices and via Google Play that guides the user through the process of preparing for, recording and uploading an interview to the Library of Congress and the organization’s online archive.
Top photo, Jacqueline Van Meter talks about StoryCorps. All photos by Mike Diegel.