Harvesting Stories Intro

 

 

Short Project Description

Harvesting Stories, is a project to record modern and historical oral histories from our

community. We hope to use these stories as a tool to connect the people who lived and

worked in the village, their families, the migrant farm workers and the present residents

of the region.We are partnering with local school students to assist with collecting

stories, shooting interviews and sharing their own reflections on what they learn from

the process. We will make short films for the public to access through our website,

Vimeo and for community screenings.

 

We would like to present “Harvesting Stories”, a collection of modern and historical oral histories from our community. Building on the success of the 2001 award winning “Voices of Whitesbog” oral history project and short film (funded by NJCH), we will add new oral histories, capturing portraits of the people who lived and worked in the village and their families, coupled with past and present photos, capturing knowledge of the local community history, family stories and mechanical knowledge of the use of machinery and farming techniques. We are partnering with local school students to assist with collecting stories, shooting interviews and sharing their own reflections on what they learn from the interviewees and process. Our primary goal is to record, preserve and share these stories before they are forgotten. As an organization that works with many elderly volunteers, we know how important it is to cherish and preserve recollections and collections before they are lost. Our second goal is to include the current community of Browns Mills, Pemberton Township and the surrounding region in the process of thinking about memory, about community changes over time, about family generations and connections to place and reflect on how the community today has changed and what has stayed the same.

 

We will host a series of events to collect and record oral histories, for groups and individuals, with the participation of local students and community groups. We will invite former residents to speak at public events. We will build a digital database of these recordings, for public access through our website and for use in the video booth in our future museum, the Cranberry and Blueberry Museum. Visitors will be able to access oral histories through a touch screen as well as record their own reflections and stories. This museum is in the final stages of design and exhibit fabrication is expected to begin this winter. The videos will be edited together in a short film and we will host screenings at several local venues including the public library, the recreation center meeting hall and at Whitesbog, as well as make it available for viewing on our Vimeo channel and in our General Store classroom.

 

This project will help connect Whitesbog within the context of the local and regional community. Many local residents do not know about historic village its importance to the agricultural history of New Jersey.  This project will help us connect with younger audiences as well as broaden our reach.  We also hope to deepen even our regular visitor’s understanding of the family histories that took place here and how they reflect changes in our nation.