Two different but equally delightful ventures made up my internship experience this summer. One was the Elkmont Oral History Project (EOHP) and the other was the Allen County Folklife and Oral History Project (ACFP).
Elkmont Oral History Project (EOHP), 2011
With Ruth Trentham Wilson who was born and raised in Elkmont, and Peggy Trentham Booth and the launch of the Elkmont Oral History Project.
Elkmont is a place which now falls within the boundaries of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the EOHP had been instigated by the National Park Service with the aim of creating a tangible record of the memories and experiences of people who had lived there before they were effectively displaced by the Park. This included people who remembered Elkmont as a logging town (which it had been from the late 19th and during the first few decades of the 20th century), and also former residents of residents of a summer community (which had grown up in the 19 teens and which remained active until the late 20th century). For this project, I conducted 6 lengthy interviews and compiled the requisite accompanying documentation (photos, field notes etc), then worked with two colleagues to write a summary. The intention of the EOHP is to create a source of interpretive material that the National Park Service can draw on in order to aid visitors' understanding of the history of Elkmont.
The Allen County Folklife and Oral History Project (ACFP), 2011
With double Purple Heart World War 2 vet and former Elkmont resident Winfred Ownby, along with his daughter and son-in-law Joan and Fred Parkinson.
With regard to the ACFP, I was part of the advance team working on the initial stages of what will be a 2 year comprehensive survey (conducted by WKU's Folk Studies and Anthropology Department and funded by the Laura Goad Turner Charitable Foundation) of traditional culture and oral history of Allen County, Kentucky. The work of the advance team, which consisted of myself and 3 other grad students, was in part a kind of folkloristic reconnaissance to find out what goes on in Allen County and who should we talk to about it, and also a dissemination mission - we wanted to let as many people as possible know about the project and to get them excited about it. We did this both as a group (visiting, for example, the Historical Society together) and individually. Each of us had areas we were particularly interested in and mine were music and food servers as well as arts & crafts and traditional sports.