Building the Plane While It’s Flying: Moving an Oral History Program Forward while Creating an Oral History Program

  • Alexis Braun Marks (Eastern Michigan University)
  • Matt Jones (Eastern Michigan University)
  • Jolie Diepenhorst (The Salvation Army Central Territory Museum)
  • Katherine Delahoyde (Eastern Michigan University)
  • Cheyenne Travioli (Eastern Michigan University)


Co-chaired by Nanci Gasiel, Director of The Salvation Army Central Territory Museum (CTM), and Alexis Braun Marks, the University Archivist at Eastern Michigan University, this session will bring together the stories of two organizations that are creating oral history programs while learning what it means to be an oral history program that has both credibility and longevity.

Jolie Diepenhorst, CTM Curator, will speak about developing an exhibit to convey the history, participation, and contribution of Black Indigenous People of Color within The Salvation Army Central Territory and the communities they serve. Realizing the archives lacked documentation she turned to oral history and collected 23 Salvation Army officers (pastors) and their corps (local church) members across the Midwest. These oral histories have revitalized conversations about a formal oral history program at the Museum.

Three panelists from EMU will share their viewpoints on the benefits and shortcomings of digital access and learning in the online environment and on how the teaching of oral history is evolving. They will consider ways to create community while moving uncomfortable conversations forward with cultural sensitivity and awareness. Matt Jones, EMU Lecturer, will speak about building the EMU oral history program and instructing an oral history methods course in the midst of a pandemic. EMU graduate students Katie Delahoyde and Cheyenne Travioli will discuss their approach to oral history when you don’t see yourself reflected in the “how-to” literature and how they will be using their oral history skills in their chosen fields. With ample time left for question and answer, the panel hopes to engage attendees with some of the questions they have been wrestling with around oral history.

Keywords: Oral History, University Archives, Museum Archives, Graduate Student Work, Mascot Change, Salvation Army, Eastern Michigan University

How to Cite:

Braun Marks, A., Jones, M., Diepenhorst, J., Delahoyde, K. & Travioli, C., (2022) “Building the Plane While It’s Flying: Moving an Oral History Program Forward while Creating an Oral History Program”, MAC Annual Meeting Presentations 2022(1).



Published on
05 May 2022