Omaha Stories: Oral Histories from Omaha, Nebraska shares the experiences of people from Omaha and surrounding communities through oral history interviews. These oral histories are gathered from multiple cultural heritage repositories and are available together on this website for the first time. Omaha Stories is a project of UNO Libraries' Archives & Special Collections.
The website includes the following collections:
- Reflections in Time (1979-2007), UNO Libraries
- American Indian Oral History and Omaha Folklore Project Oral History Collection from Dr. Michael Tate (1970-1980), UNO Libraries
- LGBTQ+ Oral History Collection including interviews conducted by Dr. Jay Irwin (2016), Dr. Irwin's students (2016), and the LGBTQ+ Voices project (2017-ongoing), UNO Libraries
- Women in Omaha Oral History Interviews collected by Dr. Elaine Nelson's students (2017), UNO Libraries.
Oral history collections currently being processed for uploading to the website and the repository that holds the rights to the interviews:
- Nebraska Black Oral History Project, Omaha interviewees (1980-1982), History Nebraska
- Orville Menard Omaha History Interviews (1979-1980), UNO Libraries
- OPS Making Invisible History Visible Interviews (2015-2019), UNO Libraries
- Omaha Jewish and African American Community Interviews (2019), UNO Libraries
- Additional collections to be added are under discussion with other Omaha cultural heritage repositories.
Recent History of the Project
In 2017, UNO Libraries received a $10,000 grant from Humanities Nebraska to 224 oral history interviews conducted from 1974 to 2007 freely available to the public online for the first time. Omaha Stories implemented a new tool, the Oral History Metadata Synchronizer (OHMS), and utilized existing infrastructure and tools used by the UNO Libraries, including CONTENTdm, Omeka.net, and ArchivesSpace, to share the people and voices of Omaha’s past with the present. Omaha Stories makes 102 oral history interviews conducted under the direction of UNO history professor Michael Tate in the mid-1970s and 122 interviews conducted by UNO faculty Paul Borge and Jack Newton from 1979 to 2007 for the UNO television series Reflections in Time freely available to the public online.
In 2020, the metadata for all interviews was migrated from the library's CONTENTdm platform to the new Islandora platform. This dedicated Omaha Stories website will remain active.
Current Project Staff:
- Amy Schindler, Director of Archives and Special Collections
- Luke Wegener, Oral History Associate for LGBTQ+ Voices: Queer Omaha Archives Oral History Project
Past Project Staff:
- Yumi Ohira, Digital Initiatives Librarian, 2017-2019
- Leslie Kravitz, Practicum Student, Spring 2017
- Amanda Shurtliff, Student Assistant, 2018
- Amber Johnson, Student Assistant, 2018
- Katie Spieckermann, Student Assistant, 2018-2019
- Ryan Diego, Student Assistant, 2018-2019
- Sean Summerfelt, Student Assistant, 2018-2019
About Humanities Nebraska and Grant Funding
Omaha Stories: Oral Histories of Omaha, Nebraska is one of many grants funded by Humanities Nebraska (HN). The Humanities Nebraska grant project was completed in April 2019.
With the support of a matching internal grant, the Eugene S. and Sunny M. Thomas Fund for Innovation, UNO Libraries' Archives and Special Collections continues to add additional collections of oral history interviews to the website.
Created in 1973 as a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, HN is an independent, non-profit organization governed by a volunteer board of public and academic members. HN funds programs that explore Nebraska's heritage, build community awareness, and strengthen our ties to cultural traditions at home and abroad. The Nebraska Cultural Endowment is a public/private partnership that designates funds to HN for distribution.
Any non-profit group is eligible to apply for a grant from HN. The HN staff is available for grant consultation and will read proposal drafts. Contact the HN office if you need assistance with a project idea. For a copy of Humanities Nebraska grant guidelines, contact HN at 215 Centennial Mall South, Suite 330, Lincoln, NE 68508, phone 402-474-2131, fax 402-474-4852, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. The entire grant guidelines packet is online at: http://humanitiesnebraska.org/.