Michigan Oral History Association, Part 1

My sister and I left for Traverse City and the Michigan Oral History Association annual conference yesterday around 12 and got to our hotel just after 4. The welcome reception for attendees, held at the picturesque Traverse Area Historical Society, took place from 6 to 8.

Upon arriving, we were welcomed by Geneva Wiskemann, the woman I’d had email correspondence with to set everything up. She was really excited to see us–I assume she knew who I was because she didn’t recognize me and she knew everyone else there. Everyone there was curious about me and Sarah, and there was no shortage of people to meet and greet. Barbara, who’s on MOHA’s board of directors, wanted to know about my project; David, MOHA’s president, overheard us talking about the Michigan Relics article by Richard Stamps and told me that he’s interested in fakeries and frauds. He gave me his card so that I could email him the information (which I did shortly after I got home tonight).

While I was talking with David, I mentioned that I might want to find work at a charity or non-profit organization after grad school, and he gave me an interesting piece of advice: to take a couple of accounting classes in case the organization needs help in that respect as well. I hadn’t thought about it from that angle before, but it’s probably an idea I’ll take him up on. Anything that will boost my resume is good with me.

We also met Derek, a twenty-something grad student at U of M, who introduced himself by saying, “You guys look young, I’m gonna come talk to you.” (To be fair, there were only five younger people present at the conference today and everyone else was probably sixty and older.) He regaled us with stories about the differences in personalization of programs at the different universities he’s attended (MSU, EMU, and U of M).

The conference proper took place today, from 9 to 4. I’ll update about that tomorrow, but here’s a sneak peek: The experiences of archivists and oral historians can include being ordered to get in to a Lexus with tinted windows and interviewing someone who claimed he’d seen a troll. They can lead crazy lives, is what I’m getting at.


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