The Kingdom of Callaway Historical Society has embarked on an ambitious project to preserve the history of the County through oral, recorded interviews with some of it's most remarkable residents.
The first interview for the project took place in December 2013, with a 100 year old resident. Getting to this point took an extensive amount of planning and dedication from the Historical Society Board of Directors. The first step was to determine the interview categories; 10 topics that have impacted Callaway County.
Susan Krumm and Diane Burre Ludwig conducted test interviews to ensure the process worked and was ready to be rolled out to the six initial volunteers who had been trained to conduct interviews.
The purpose of this project is not to capture one's life story, but snippets of their life in Callaway County as it relates to specific core areas. The categories chosen represent wide ranging areas of interest and include, agriculture; the one-room schoolhouse; area communities; reform and the nuclear plant; business & industry; transportation; the country store; WWII – life on the home front; higher education; and other special / unique topics. The individuals to be interviewed were chosen based on their ability to provide differing perspectives on the same topic, for example, the Ovid Bell Press, or someone such as Joe Crane because of his ability to speak on various topics. So far the interviewers have completed, 18 interviews in 2014, 11 interviews in 2015, 16 interviews so far in 2016, and their are 70 individuals waiting to be interviewed.
The interview process begins when the interviewer is assigned to an individual to interview, but, before the interview can begin, the interviewer has to research both the topic of the interview and person being interviewed. The core questions are updated for relevancy, and all parties must sign the required authorizations and releases. The interviews are designed to take about an hour and are recorded on digital media, which comes back to the Historical Society for storage and processing. The interview is downloaded on to the server; a back-up copy is prepared; a copy is placed on a special archival disc; and a copy is prepared for the interviewee.
There are currently twelve interviewers, but, with over 70 individuals waiting to be interviewed, more volunteers are needed. Volunteers must be committed to the project and willing to undergo the required training. Current interviewer, Jim Buffington, said, "I became interested in helping with the Oral History Project because everybody has a story. For some people that story may be quickly forgotten. These conversations can be an important part of the individual's legacy. Taken together, the interviews will add to the rich family traditions of Callaway County."
How will the information obtained through the oral history project be used. In 2020, the Kingdom of Callaway Historical Society will celebrate its 60th Anniversary. The organizers hope to use the information as part of their celebrations. The information will also be available for individuals researching family history, and for researching County history.
If anyone is interested in helping with this project, you can contact the Kingdom of Callaway Historical Society for further information on what you can do.