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StoryCorps, The Groundbreaking Oral History Project, To Visit Des Moines in August


StoryCorps, a renowned nonprofit organization celebrating the stories of everyday Americans, will record interviews in Des Moines from their Airstream trailer, August 3 to September 1 as part of its cross-country MobileBooth tour. Having collected more than 65,000 interviews from Americans in all 50 states, StoryCorps has gathered one of the largest single collection of human voices ever recorded.
     StoryCorps’ MobileBooth — an Airstream trailer outfitted with a recording studio — will be installed at Cowles Commons in downtown Des Moines. Reservations to be interviewed will be become available at 10am on Thursday, July 20 and can be made by calling StoryCorps’ 24-hour toll-free reservation line at 1-800-850-4406 or visiting Additional appointments will be available on Friday, August 4.
     In StoryCorps’ MobileBooth, two people are able to record a meaningful conversation with one another about who they are, what they’ve learned in life, and how they want to be remembered. A trained StoryCorps facilitator guides them through the interview process. At the end of each 40-minute recording session, participants receive a complimentary CD copy of their interview. With participant permission, a second copy is archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress for future generations to hear.
     Founded in 2003 by award-winning documentary producer and MacArthur Fellow Dave Isay, StoryCorps has traveled to every corner of the country to record interviews in the organization’s effort to create a world where we listen closely to each other and recognize the beauty, grace and poetry in the lives and stories we find all around us.
     “StoryCorps tells the true American story — that we are a people defined by small acts of courage, kindness and heroism. Each interview reminds people that their lives matter and will not be forgotten,” said Isay. “By strengthening connections between people and building an archive that reflects the rich diversity of American voices, we hope to build StoryCorps into an enduring institution that will touch the lives of every American family.”
     In Iowa, StoryCorps will partner with Iowa Public Radio, the state’s NPR member station. IPR will air a selection of the local interviews recorded in the StoryCorps MobileBooth and create special programs around the project. StoryCorps may also share excerpts of these stories with the world through the project’s popular weekly NPR broadcasts, animated shorts, digital platforms, and best-selling books.
     “We are thrilled to partner with StoryCorps to bring this opportunity to Iowa,” says Iowa Public Radio Executive Director Myrna Johnson. “Iowa Public Radio is proud to tell the story of our state through our engaging news and cultural programming, and having StoryCorps here in Des Moines through the month of August will give so many of our listeners a chance to share their story, have a meaningful conversation with a loved one, and to preserve the oral history of Iowa.”
About StoryCorps
Founded in 2003 by MacArthur Fellow Dave Isay, the nonprofit organization StoryCorps has given more than 100,000 Americans the chance to record interviews about their lives, pass wisdom from one generation to the next, and leave a legacy for the future. It is the largest single collection of human voices ever gathered. In the coming years StoryCorps hopes to touch the lives of every American family.
     Participating in StoryCorps couldn’t be easier: You invite a loved one, or anyone else you chose, to one of the StoryCorps recording sites. There you’re met by a trained facilitator, who greets you and explains the interview process. You’re then brought into a quiet recording room and seated across from your interview partner, each of you in front of a microphone. The facilitator hits “record,” and you share a 40-minute conversation. At the end of the session, you walk away with a CD, and a digital file goes to the Library of Congress, where it will be preserved for generations to come. Someday your great-great-great-grandchildren will be able to meet your grandfather, your mother, your best friend, or whomever it is you chose to honor with a StoryCorps interview. 
StoryCorps shares edited excerpts of these stories with the world through popular weekly NPR broadcasts, animated shorts, digital platforms, and best-selling books. These powerful stories illustrate our shared humanity and show how much more we share in common than divides us.
     StoryCorps has also launched a series of successful national initiatives, including:
– The September 11th Initiative, helping families memorialize the stories of lives lost on September 11, 2001, in partnership with the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center;
– The Griot Initiative, now the largest collection of African American voices ever gathered, in collaboration with the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture;
– The Historias Initiative, the largest collection of Latino and Latina stories ever gathered;
– The Military Voices Initiative, honoring the stories of post-9/11 service members, veterans and their families;
– StoryCorps OutLoud, which documents the powerful, varied experiences of LGBTQ people across America; and
– StoryCorpsU (SCU), an interactive, standards-based college-readiness curriculum for high-needs schools uses StoryCorps content and interviewing techniques to engage the hearts and minds of young people and promote positive student outcomes.
     With the 2015 TED Prize awarded to Dave Isay, StoryCorps has launched an app that puts the StoryCorps experience entirely in the hands of users and enables anyone, anywhere to record meaningful conversations with one another. These interviews are preserved at the U.S. Library of Congress and on the website, a growing, global archive of the wisdom of humanity.
     StoryCorps aims to be an enduring institution that celebrates the dignity, power, and grace that can be heard in the stories we find all around us, and helps us recognize that every life and every story matter equally.
About Iowa Public Radio
Iowa Public Radio (IPR) informs, enriches and engages Iowans through high quality news and cultural programming. Delivering three streams of programming statewide, IPR brings Iowans award-winning national programming and produces local programs that reflect Iowa’s sense of place. In partnership with the Regent universities who hold the licenses to IPR’s stations, Iowa Public Radio seeks to foster a vibrant Iowa with civically and culturally informed citizens.

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