About Us | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

What We Do

The Voices Oral History Archives (VOHA) seeks to document the human experience as it relates to the changing environment, climate, oceans and coasts through firsthand oral history accounts.  Oral histories contribute to NOAA’s Mission of “Science, Service, and Stewardship” by creating, compiling, archiving and sharing the experiences of stakeholders, scientists and others.  Any individual or organization can participate in the VOHA program by contributing oral history interview projects and interviews that are related to the project scope and mission, or by using the interviews archived here in their research, scholarship, exhibits, or general use. 

We work with prospective oral history practitioners to add interviews to our growing digital repository and the public to use and interact with our content for educational and research purposes. The Voices Oral History Archives database is a powerful resource available to the public to inform, educate, and provide primary information for researchers interested in our local, human experience with the surrounding marine environment. 

History

In 2003, funding was provided by the NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Office of Science and Technology for the Local Fisheries Knowledge Pilot Project (PI, Dr. Susan Abbott-Jamieson). This project focused on training high school students to conduct oral history interviews with local fishermen and others in marine fishing-related industries to explore the connection between fisheries, the marine environment, and their communities. As part of the LFK Pilot Project, a database was created to provide a publicly accessible archive for these and other marine related oral history interviews.  In 2007, taking advantage of the infrastructure built for the LFK Project, a proposal for $12,000 of seed funding was submitted to the NOAA Preserve America Grant Initiative, now the NOAA Heritage Program, to expand the project scope to serve as a nationwide archive.  Initial steps included identifying and digitizing endangered collections.  We formed critical partnerships during the early years with The Working Waterfront Festival (now New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center), Rutgers University and MIT SEA Grant.  Over time, the project has been supported by continued funding from the Office of Science and Technology.  Since 2003, the project has grown from 24 unique oral histories to over 1400 and growing.  

For More Information:

For more information, contact the program manager, Molly Graham at voices@noaa.gov.

Project PI’s: Patricia Pinto da Silva - patricia.pinto.da.silva@noaa.gov, PhD & Suzanne Russell, PhD - suzanne.russell@noaa.gov