Roots with Wings, a Floyd County Place-Based Education Project:: Intergenerational Connections

Floyd Story Center

Since 1998, a community oral history collection partnership of the Old Church Gallery, Ltd., Radford University’s Center for Social and Cultural Research, Honors Program, Scholar-Citizen Initiative, Appalachian Regional and Rural Studies Center, and Floyd County High School. Our archives now hold over 100 interviews.

In our Roots with Wings project, college mentors, high school staff, and community volunteers meet weekly during the school year to teach the discipline of oral history collection to Floyd County High School students.

Students learn ethical, methodologically sound interview techniques, practice and complete several interviews, transcribe the audiotapes, create searchable content logs, archive interviewee resources and period photographs, learn the technology of audio and video recording, research historical backgrounds, acquire proficiency in iMovie and storytelling, and finally extract a theme from an hour long interview to create a seven minute movie production.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Interview Day Success


Last week FCHS and RU students transformed the Hotel Floyd into studio space using backdrops, props and audio/video equipment.  But the most important part of all?  The interviewees!

Two simultaneous interviews occurred in the morning and two in the afternoon.  We ran into a little trouble setting up one of the cameras -- it decided to turn off and on all by itself.  The crew handled the hiccups nicely; a film shoot without hiccups is only a dream.  That camera will possibly need to be retired and replaced for future interviews.

Morning interviews:

Al Kelley was interviewed by Floyd County High School student Reno Jungmann in the Hotel Floyd conference room.  Al brought his WWII Navy uniform, and he invited a uniformed Navy recruiter from Christiansburg to observe the session.

McCrey Shortt was interviewed by Floyd County high school student Luke Moran in the Hotel Floyd farmhouse suite.  Mr. Shortt brought his canteen and his 1940s camera, along with many photographs he took during his wartime service.

Afternoon interviews:

We learned that Marvin Nolen was part of the US Navy's "Mighty Midgets" fleet during WWII during his interview with Floyd County High School student Dexter Layman.

Maurice Slusher discussing baseball, horse-drawn farming machinery, and WWII experiences, among other things, with  Daniel Tsang.

The FCHS student interviewers and behind-the-camera crew all did a great job.  They took ownership of their crew positions, accomplishing the team goals.  For example, Alex C., audio controller for the McCrey Shortt interview, noticed when the air handler unit cut on (creating noise interference) as well as when the lavalier mic needed readjustment and alerted the crew so these things could be fixed.

Behind the scenes of a Roots with Wings interview, videographer Noah R. and audiographer Jason M. at work.

Now comes the fun part!  Students will be logging the footage, audio, and material provided by the families that have been photographed or scanned.  This is a bit less glamorous, but critically important for preservation and archival purposes as well as making the editing process go a lot smoother.

By the way, if you are in the area and need a place to stay or a conference location do consider the Hotel Floyd.  

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