Oral History

Criteria for Oral History Grants

Organizations may apply for funding for oral history projects. Ideally these projects will:

  • Address a rare, vanishing, or otherwise threatened subject area or population
  • Capture the memories of a significant person or group who is/are at risk of disappearing
  • Focus on capturing memories related to a topic significant to Montana history
  • Focus on an individual or group that represents characteristics of a culture, organization, or community significant to Montana history
  • Employ an expert to conduct the oral interviews and/or include provisions to train interviewers in advance of conducting oral interviews

Oral History proposals must:

  • Provide a set of sample questions / material to be gathered
  • Provide an example of a written release to be secured from all interviewees in order that material collected may be shared and used by others for educational purposes
  • Provide a training plan for interviewers if a trained oral historian will not be conducting interviews*
  • Provide specific details on how the material collected will be archived and shared online using acceptable protocols through the Montana Memory Project (www.mtmemory.org) or another widely accessible repository

Some examples of eligible projects include:

  • Interviews with elders and/or intergenerational interviews about ceremonies or experiences that are no longer commonly practiced
  • Interviews with individuals who participated in a significant event in Montana history (a political convention, the signing of an agreement, etc.)
  • Some past projects have included such topics as women in agriculture, dramatic change of northeast Montana communities as a result of the Bakken oil boom, and intertribal exchange of songs and ceremonies by Native elders


*Note: In cases where a trained oral historian will not be engaged to conduct the project, the proposal must include provisions to have training providing to the individual(s) conducting the interviews. Such training may be arranged through the Montana Historical Society.