Oral History Collection

Missouri capitol building in Jefferson City Big Spring, Ozark National Scenic Riverways, Van Buren, MO Missouri Mule II, World War II B-26 bomber piloted by George W. Parker

Since 1993, The State Historical Society has had a full-time oral historian recording and transcribing hundreds of oral history interviews that preserve Missouri’s history, culture, and heritage.

The first project of the oral history program focused on artists from Missouri's Bootheel region.  The project, a collaboration with the University of Missouri Folk Arts Program and Museum of Art and Archaeology, was supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Missouri Arts Council.  Researchers collected oral history interviews and other recordings, which resulted in Art and Heritage of the Missouri Bootheel: A Resource Guide (pdf, 8mb).

With over 4,800 interviews, the oral history program continues to actively produce and collect oral history interviews that represent Missouri’s culture and history.  However, researchers will find our oral history collection reaches well beyond the Show-Me State’s borders.