The idea for the Randolph County Archives of Oral History developed in conjunction with the sesquicentennial celebration of Pocahontas in 2006 and subsequent desire to construct a museum to celebrate the unique history and culture of Randolph County. Intended to be housed in the Randolph County Heritage Museum, the Randolph County Archives of Oral History formed during the early phases of the museum’s development and has grown exponentially. Currently, the collection houses 189 items. As many were granted to the Randolph County Archives of Oral History during the early formation of the museum, no standard practice of acquisition and processing had yet been developed leaving a few files incomplete. Nonetheless, the bulk of the collection does consist of a recording and transcription to provide the researcher with both a hard copy and a linguistic sampling of the region’s heritage. Included in these files are stories of farming practices, the shell button industry, saw milling, gardening, canning, and quilting to name but a few.
Begun under the auspice of Dr. Gary Buxton, an instructor at Black River Technical College, the collection contains a number of interviews conducted by his English students as well as those from a local community heritage course. The collection as also benefited from a research conducted by sociology students. Steve Shultz, the director of the Law Enforcement Training Academy at Black River Technical College and adjunct sociology instructor, requires his students to conduct recorded studies of the community. Considering that these will shed valuable light on the attitudes of our citizens for future scholars, these interviews were gladly included in the collection. Obviously, sociology interviews are somewhat different from the tradition oral history interviews conducted by Dr. Buxton’s students and a few volunteers at the museum; therefore, a number system has been devised that will delineate between oral history interviews and sociology interviews for the researcher. Files labeled OH mark oral history interviews. File labeled OHS indicate that they are housed in the oral history collection, but are sociology interviews and/or papers written about these items.
The Randolph County Archives of Oral History is open during normal museum hours: Monday - Friday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Researchers specifically coming to view the Randolph County Archives of Oral History are encouraged to make prior contact. The staff can pull specific items or make other arrangement that will maximize your research time.
Copies of either the transcripts or the tape recordings can be sent through the mail at your request for $1.00, or current postage rate, for a transcript and $5.00, or current postage rate, for a tape cassette to cover the cost of copying materials and shipping. Those researching in the museum will be charged $1.00, or current postage rate, for a transcript and $2.50, or current postage rate, for a tape cassette to cover the cost of the materials. Requests can be made at (870) 892-4056 or email at rchm.1@Hotmail.com.
The following comments are suggestions by Derek Allen Clements. After several years of conducting field interviews, these tips can help the novice interviewer to avoid some common errors that make some interviews less than desirable. This link is in the form of a PowerPoint presentation. Additionally, Clements speaks to groups on this topic. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please place “Oral History Request” in the subject line or your email.
(requires Adobe Acrobat Reader, available free HERE)
If you wish to submit a recording to our collection, please complete the deed of gift form prior to submission. It is imperative that you have both your signature and the signature of the interviewee.
(ZIP file download unzips to an Excel file, which requires Microsoft Excel 2007 or higher, or the free Excel viewer available HERE)
HOW TO USE EXCEL DOCUMENTS (EXCEL DOWNLOAD)
Please note to the right of the Excel document that there is a blue scroll box that you can slide vertically from the top to the bottom of the document by using your mouse to place the cursor on the bar, left-click and hold as you move the mouse up and down. You may also click on the scroll arrow buttons at the top and bottom of the bar, which will navigate a few lines at a time. The same can be done to view the document horizontally by using the scroll box at the bottom right. You may also left-click the mouse on any cell within the document and use the arrows on your keyboard to navigate left to right or top to bottom one cell at a time. If you have a scroll wheel in the middle of your mouse and would like to see a smaller version to include more data on the screen, hold down the Control key and roll your scroll wheel up and down to change the view. Shrinking the size allows you to see more of the document at one time, but the print will appear smaller.
When searching for a particular topic, name, or location, left-click your mouse on the “Find” section at the far right in the “Home” tab at the top of your screen. A box will appear which will allow you to enter the word or name in the box next to “Find what” that would best represent the topic you are researching. Then, left-click on the “Find Next” box below it. If the word is found, the cell in which it is located will appear with a bold outline around it. If there are multiple finds within the document, you will be able to continue clicking on “Find Next” within the box until it has come back to your first finding.
If you want to quickly return to the top of the document, press the Control key together with the Home key. If you want to quickly go to the bottom, press the Control key together with the End key.
Currently, this Excel document (or spreadsheet) is part of a multiple-page workbook. To choose the spreadsheet that fits your needs, click on the tabs at the bottom. You will find them on the same line as the horizontal scroll boxes. To the left of the tabs, click on the arrows to navigate left and right to find more spreadsheets.
Suggestion: The Excel Find tool is very sensitive. So, make your searches with minimal wording. For a person’s name, use only the last name on your initial search. If nothing appears, search for the first name and possible variations in spelling.