On Thursday, February 28th we went to the Brooklyn Historical Society to experience firsthand what an oral history collection was like. Sady Sullivan gave us a tour and shared some interesting information.
The Brooklyn Historical Society was founded in 1863. The museum has many exhibits. It has an exhibit just for veterans from the Vietnam War, an exhibit just for the work of high school students and many more exhibits.
The museum has a library that was built in 1881. The library is on the second floor and it is two floors itself. The library is a research library, which means nothing leaves the library. They have rules that are different then a public library: You cannot have a purse that is bigger than the size of half a piece of computer paper and you cannot use pens in the library, only pencils.
Brooklyn Historical Society Research Library
Their collection goes back to the 1600s. They used to draw instead of record their stories. In 1973, they started to record their stories on cassettes tapes. Some of the first recordings at the museum were interviews from people who moved from Puerto Rico to Brooklyn. People shared their stories. In 1993 they started to interview people from Crown Heights about the 1991 riot that took place there. We sat together to read transcripts about the riot. Each of us read the words of very different people who had a different perspective on what life was like after the riot took place.