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UW Oral History Team to Collect Information From Kemmerer, Diamondville Residents

June 2, 2022

A University of Wyoming team of students, faculty and professionals will be in Kemmerer and Diamondville June 15-24 for a 10-day field school to collect oral histories and videography to chronicle local residents’ experiences.

Both Lincoln County communities have historically been shaped by the coal industry.

The focus of the Kemmerer-Diamondville Oral History Project -- two years in the making -- is to document how residents perceive their communities, especially in light of TerraPower’s recent announcement that the company’s Natrium reactor demonstration project will be located near the two communities.

The project is sponsored by UW’s American Studies Program and the American Heritage Center (AHC), with funding from Wyoming Humanities and the Wyoming Community Foundation, and support from the Lincoln County Library System.

The field school features training for UW students in the use of audio and video equipment to conduct interviews in an immersive experience. Andrea Graham, a senior research scientist and folklife specialist in UW’s American Studies Program, and Leslie Waggener, AHC archivist, are the UW faculty guiding the project.

“Oral history is about people telling their own stories, describing both their personal histories and their sense of place and community, from the past to the future,” Graham says.

Waggener says she looks forward to being with UW students as they learn more about oral history.

“The project will provide the students with an in-depth look at two Wyoming communities full of interesting people and history,” Waggener adds.

At the end of the field school, UW students and faculty will give a presentation about their work and preliminary findings at the Lincoln County Library, located at 519 Emerald St. in Kemmerer. The free public event -- to allow residents to learn initial outcomes of the project -- is at 3 p.m. Thursday, June 23.

All materials gathered during the project will be archived at the AHC as well as the Lincoln County Library, which is collaborating with UW on the project. The materials also will be used in future public programming, such as a traveling exhibition and media broadcasts.

For more information, email Waggener at lwaggen2@uwyo.edu.

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