The Moslem Mosque Oral History Project
Members of the Moslem Mosque are starting our own Oral History Project to capture the remarkable 114-year history of our organization. We will do this by recording stories told by folks who have memories of the mosque. Our aim is to collect as many memories as possible while we still can. These should be short (10-15 minute) audio interviews and can be accompanied by photographs or any memorabilia from the past. Dances, religious classes, picnics, immigrating, babka-making, it’s all valuable! We invite everyone with memories of days gone by to participate! We will archive these interviews to be accessible online so please let us know your comfort level before sharing. If you wish to correct/redact parts of the interview after recording that is also possible.
You are not limited to one topic or one story or one interview! The more memories the better!!
Section 1: Prompts for starting a conversation
A photograph serves as a great starting point for conjuring memories and stories.
If you can ask your parent/grandparent to bring a photograph to the conversation that can be a way to begin. If this is not possible pre-plan a topic, memory, or moment you want to ask about. It might be a big life event like a birth, marriage, or death or something you have heard about or wondered about. Explain that you are interested in hearing about the mom
ent and ask if they can share with you what they remember. Next, sit back and let the person speak, interjecting reactions or questions as needed. Below are a few good open-ended questions you might ask as follow up.
Can you tell me about the moment in the photograph?
Who are these people? Where is this place?
Who was there? What happened?
Do you remember what time of year it was?
What stands out to you about this memory?
Why was the photograph taken?
Do you recall what you did afterwards?
Looking at the photo now does anything stand out to you that you had forgotten?
Section 2: Technology for recording the interview
Mobile phones and computers are perfectly adequate for audio recording conversations. There are a variety of scenarios that you may find yourself in but the below is a list of ways to get the best recording possible. Record Indoors. Also, if the interview revolves around a photograph, please include a digital photo of that image. Tips and tricks for recording in-person or distance interviews.
Download an audio recording app onto your phone (voice record pro, Recorder Pro), or find a software program on your computer that will record like QuickTime Player. The Voice Notes app built-in on most smartphones works fine too!
Recording an interview done on the phone or via Skype/Zoom.
If you are speaking to your family member on the phone, put the call on speaker and use your computer or another phone to record the conversation so that it captures both you and the person on the other end of the phone.
If you are on Skype on a computer, you can use your mobile phone to record the audio from the computer and you by placing the phone down on a nearby surface equi-distant from you and the computer.
In person and distance interview tips for good recordings.
Find a nice quiet indoor space to do the recording, preferably a room with a door. Shut off all noisy devices in the room before recording (fans, heaters, AC’s, even windows open to noisy streets)
Know where the microphone is on your phone or computer - this will allow you to position the phone with the microphone toward you.
Keep a distance of roughly 6”-9” between you and the device you are using to record. This is enough distance to record well but not too close that the sound distorts.
Any banging, typing, or knocking of the computer or table where your recording device is situated will cause a transference of those sounds onto your recording.
Finally do a test of the recording before you start. Set everything up and then hit the record button for a minute, stop it and listen back to the recording (preferably with headphones). If all sounds good you are ready to go. Don’t forget to hit Record!!!
Once your recording is complete, the file can be sent to Diana Chester at firstname.lastname@example.org. If the file is too large, Diana can help troubleshoot ways of sending it. Thank you again for your contributions.