“The exhibit is a timely one. Baby boomers are going through caregiving issues with their parents. And soon boomers will be experiencing caregiving needs firsthand. The World Health Organization has estimated that dementia sufferers will top 2 billion by 2050. That would be the worst medical disaster in human history.”
“It is a key moment in the campaign,” says Elisa Ringholm, development director of the Latino Union. “[The Domestic Worker Bill of Rights] includes domestic workers in existing labor laws. They will be included in the right to minimum wage. The right to be paid for all hours worked. One day off per week. The right to meal and rest periods. Paid time off. And the right to be free from sexual harassment.”
Collected Stories: The Rise of Oral History in Museum Exhibitions
Photo: Chicago History Museum’s Facing Freedom exhibit
By Ron Chew
Museum News, November/December, 2002
There was a time, not so long ago, when the gathering of oral histories—recorded, first-person interviews—was derided as the dubious pursuit of untrained amateurs, whose only skill was the ability to ask questions and turn on a tape recorder. Traditional historians scoffed at oral history’s reliability and usefulness. Archivists cringed at the prospect of having to make space for the storage of tapes and transcripts. Museum professionals, accustomed to working with stoic relics of the past, struggled with the notion of allowing living voices to invade the hallowed exhibition space.
There are still skeptics, but the tide of thinking clearly has changed. Oral history has begun to permeate the museum—having proven its value as a research and organizing tool, a component of exhibitions, and a document worth preserving in the collection archive. “I don’t think oral history is in its full flowering yet,” says Barbara Franco, president and CEO of the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. “I think we’re just beginning to understand why it’s so attractive to our audiences.”