Oral History Booth

We’re celebrating Houston! The Houston Archives Bazaar Oral History Storytelling Booth offers participants an opportunity to record a 15-minute interview about an interesting Houston story that celebrates the city we love. Interviews may involve two friends having a conversation, a family member interviewing a family member, or an individual being interviewed by our professional oral history staff.

Please sign up to record an oral history

All contact information will be kept private. You will be contacted in advance with your time slot to record!

What to Expect

Below are details on how the process works and interview topic suggestions. A printer-friendly version is available for download, HAB Oral History Booth – What to Expect (PDF)

The Houston Archives Bazaar Oral History Storytelling Booth offers participants an opportunity to record a 15-minute interview about an interesting Houston story. Interviews may involve two friends having a conversation, a family member interviewing a family member, or an individual being interviewed by our professional oral history staff.

1. Welcome and Interview Prep. Please allow 30 minutes for the entire process. The recording
itself will take only 15 minutes. However, time will be needed to review the process and paperwork with our volunteers, and to conduct a sound check.
On the day of the interview:

  • Release form. Each participant will review and sign the Deed of Gift & Consent Form provided to confirm that you understand that the recording will be archived at the Woodson Special Collections Library at Rice University and available to the public.
  • Equipment set up/sound check. Our dedicated A-V technician will conduct a sound check and ensure the recorder and microphone are set up properly for each participant.
  • Interview Questions. If you didn’t come with a story prepared don’t worry – our interviewer will have questions ready (see the “Sample Questions” on reverse).

2. Recorded interview/storytelling. This is the best and most exciting part of the process – recording your story! Our staff will walk through sample talking points, questions, and basic interviewing ps before you begin.

  • Time check. If you are recording the interview without a facilitator, and Archives Bazaar
    staff member will peek his/her head in with 3 minutes to let you know it is time to wrap it up.

3. Post-Interview. You are all done! Your story will be preserved for local history.

  • Await delivery of your recording. Each participant will receive a copy of his or her recording via email, unless otherwise specified by the participant. If you have further questions about your interview and the archive process, please contact Mary Manning at mmmanning@uh.edu.

Sample Questions

  • When did you come to Houston?
  • If you’re not from Houston, where did you move here from?
  • How long has your family been here?
  • If you moved here, what were your inial impressions of the city and its culture?
  • What restaurants, stores, theaters, or other instutions did you love that are no longer here?
  • How has the town changed since you’ve lived here?
  • How hasn’t the town changed since you have lived here?
  • What are some of your happy memories of Houston? What are some of the sad memories?
  • Who have been some of your favorite personalies over the years?
  • Are there any Houston events that are especially memorable for you?
  • Are there any funny stories about Houston that come to mind?
  • What do you imagine Houston will be like in 10 years?
  • What does being a Houstonian mean to you?
  • What makes Houston Houston?
  • What do you love about Houston?
  • How have you seen Houston, or your neighborhood, change?
  • What do you tell people from other places about Houston?
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