This post marks the official conclusion of the 2017-2018 grant funding from Humanities Nebraska and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment that made possible the launch of LGBTQ+ Voices: The Queer Omaha Archives Oral History Project. The purpose of the initiative is to collect oral history interviews from members of local LGBTQ+ communities to share their wide-ranging experiences with their fellow Nebraskans and the world through the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Queer Omaha Archives.
The LGBTQ+ Voices project launched in October 2017 with a community oral history workshop led by Jade R. Rogers, Historian, Archivist, and Oral Historian. The workshop offered the 19 community members who attended instruction and guidance on developing a project and questions, oral history best practices, sample interview agreements, example recording devices, role-playing, and other best practices to begin conducting oral history interviews.
At the same time, Luke Wegener, Oral History Associate, began contacting LGBTQ+ community members to schedule and prepare for oral history interviews. Luke collected 20 interviews and prepared descriptions and metadata to enable easier access to the interviews over the following months.
After Luke completed the descriptions and metadata, these documents and the audio recording were shared back with the interviewees for their review and approval. As the approved documents are returned by the interviewees, the library then publishes the recording and accompanying documents online.
Articles sharing summaries of each completed and approved interview are available from the Omaha Oral History Blogs. (Due to technical difficulties there has been a delay in publishing these posts, but publication will continue over the following weeks.) The audio recordings and descriptions for all interviews are being made available online through the Queer Omaha Archives website, UNO Libraries Digital Collections portal, and Archives & Special Collections finding aids database (note that due to a system migration, updates to the finding aids database will be delayed from approximately June to September 2018).
Dr. George E. Wolf, Associate Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, was interviewed for LGBTQ+ Voices in December 2017. He had this to say about LGBTQ+ Voices:
"For the past several hours I’ve been listening to the Queer Omaha Archives’ interview with me, astonished, in ways I wasn’t aware of during the interview itself, by the significant and forthright local history it discloses through prompting me to explore my own experience. The Archives are collecting an essential repository of LBGT history in Nebraska as embodied in the lives of people who have actually lived that history. It is sure to provide inspiration to those who carry on the work of attaining equal rights and to become an essential resource for those who ultimately write the much-needed LGBT history of the state."
The grant funding for LGBTQ+ Voices was matched by private donations received from community members since designated for the Queer Omaha Archives. The gathering of oral history interviews can only continue with additional private funds. Learn more about making a donation and contact Amy Schindler, Director of Archives & Special Collections.
Support Oral Histories
We rely on external funding to conduct oral history interviews, so once we have exhausted our grant funding and private gifts made by community members, collecting new interviews will be paused until we are able to raise additional funding. We need to hear from community members soon to ensure your stories are captured, preserved, and available for future generations to learn from and enjoy. If you have been contacted by the archives and are considering sharing your story, we hope to hear from you!
If you would like to support continuing the collection of and access to oral history interviews, please consider making a donation to the Queer Omaha Archives or contact us to volunteer with the project.
About Oral History and the Queer Omaha Archives
From the first conversations between students, faculty, community members, and archivists about creating the Queer Omaha Archives, there were plans to include an oral history component in the collecting initiative. Oral history has the ability to share the memories of people and communities who lived through those events with the present and future through the voices of people from our communities. LGBTQ+ Voices: The Queer Omaha Archives Oral History Project is currently collecting oral history interviews from members of the greater Omaha LGBTQ+ communities, sharing their wide-ranging experiences with their fellow Nebraskans and the world through the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Queer Omaha Archives website.
About the Queer Omaha Archives
The Queer Omaha Archives is part of UNO Libraries’ Archives & Special Collections and officially launched in 2016. The Queer Omaha Archives collects and preserves materials relevant to the LGBTQ+ community in the region. Archives & Special Collections' material is available for the university community and general public at both the Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Library and online.
Visit the Omaha Oral History Blogs to learn more.
LGBTQ+ Voices: The Queer Omaha Archives Oral History Project is one of many grants funded by Humanities Nebraska (HN). HN awards more than $257,000 in grants each year. In 2017, HN awarded a grant of $2,000 to support LGBTQ+ Voices: The Queer Omaha Archives Oral History Project. UNO Libraries' Archives & Special Collections matched this grant using funds raised from private donors in 2016-2017.
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