Oral History

Balboa Island Museum Oral History Project with Alice Dear who served as the organization’s Archivist.

Your story matters. Social history emphasizes the importance of collecting every day perspectives. When we facilitate these interviews, digital history methods are maintained to preserve these stories according to Oral History Association standards. Chisme Chick uses a Zoom H2n and HD video recorders to create archive ready products. We use a three-point lighting system which can be used at your host institution or alternate site. Each interview is accompanied with an abstract, recording log, transcript, photos provided by the narrator, a photo of the candidate at the time of the interview, and narrator-interview agreement forms. The release form expresses the narrator’s consent to be made available with online platforms. We suggest this archival material be cataloged in PastPerfect, or another museum collection management software.

Jennifer Keil received her masters in Public and Oral History from CSUF’s Center for Oral and Public History (COPH) program. She was awarded the Lawrence B. de Graaf Outstanding Graduate Student Award and the Art Hansen Fellowship in Oral & Public History for her research. Jennifer’s culminating experience to receive a history masters degree was completing an oral history project. It is archived at the Center for Oral and Public History (COPH). The interviews are a part of a project titled, “From Hitler’s Europe to the Golden State.” Her article, “The Home Front: World War II Daily Conditions for Women in Hitler’s Europe to the Golden State” received the Editors-In-Chief award in the Welebaethan. The Oral History Association (OHA) held its annual meeting in October 2013 in Oklahoma City, OK. Jennifer presented with two other CSUF graduate students and world renowned oral historian, Alessandro Portelli. The event was featured in the Daily Titan. In April 2014, she presented WWII Home Front research at the SOHA Conference and received their research scholarship. You can read about this experience in the SOHA newsletter article, Field Notes: A CSUF Graduate Student’s First Time Attendee Experience.

Cindy Keil received her masters in English from CSUF and specialized in creative writing. Cindy discovered this passion while studying this field at UCI for her undergraduate work. She was involved with creative writing clubs and had her work published in these university journals. Her editing skills enhance the quality and consistency of the oral history transcripts. She is a trained videographer and media editor.

The Keil sisters utilize their cross-disciplinary skills to capture and preserve these stories. Jennifer and Cindy implemented the Over the Bridge Legacy Program at the Balboa Island Museum & Historical Society (BIMHS). It is a community history of the island and the individuals who shaped the culture. A project proposal outlining all the stages was provided to the board prior to filming the candidates. The archive currently includes thirty-five interviews. Four highlight reels were created to engage visitors at the oral history station. They are the following: Over the Bridge, Holiday Memories, Jolly Roger Memories, Celebrity Encounters. Please read the BIMHS newsletter which contains more information about the project. Cindy and Jennifer presented, “Over the Bridge: Creating a Sustainable Oral History Program” at the Southwest Oral History Association conference in March 2015.

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Balboa Island Museum and Historical Society, and in my role as President of the Society, I want to express our profound appreciation for the initiative and dedication of the Keils in support of the Museum’s mission to preserve the history of Balboa Island and make it accessible to our community.

-Ed Trainor, Past-President of BIMHS

Jennifer serves as the California Delegate for the Southwest Oral History Association (2017-16, 2015-16, and 2014-15). She provides state reports in the quarterly newsletters. Please refer to the most recent publication for more details. She designed a news blog for SOHA’s ongoing events. As the state delegate, she designed a poster session in April 2016 at the Center for Oral and Public History. SOHA sponsored the 2016 Oral History Association conference in Long Beach. She served on the 2016 OHA local arrangements committee. As a SOHA board member, she is helping with the 2017 conference in Tempe, AZ which will be held April 27th-29th.

The Laguna Woods History Center is working on a new community oral history project. Jennifer and Cindy are interviewing community leaders to collect and protect this history. Each candidate is selected by LWHC for their early history and major contributions to the community. They provide varied perspectives of life in Leisure World which was incorporated into Laguna Woods in 1999.