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Wistariahurst Presents Workshops on Documenting Family History

HOLYOKE — Want to start documenting your family or community’s history? This spring, Wistariahurst has teamed up with a variety of professionals to help you do just that. With a Monday-evening series starting March 14 at 6 p.m., participants will have the opportunity to work with experienced workshop leaders to learn the techniques and methods of gathering, recording, sharing, and presenting their own stories.

First in the series is Gail Herman, professional storyteller, performer, and educator, who will focus on the art of storytelling. “Stories are windows into other worlds; they are what make us human,” she said. “And family storytelling gives us a sense of roots, no matter how many places a family resides.”

As the weeks progress, presenters such as Sam Redman, professor in the UMass Oral History Lab, and journalist Greg Saulmon will facilitate workshops on a variety of memory-collecting and sharing methods. The workshops will address displaying artifacts to tell a story, conducting oral histories, interviewing techniques, creating and broadcasting a podcast, writing personal stories, and composing a strong photograph.

No prior experience in necessary to attend a workshop, and participants may attend one or come for the whole series. “If you have an interest and a willingness to participate and learn, you should join us,” said Holyoke City Historian and series curator Penni Martorell. “The skills you will come away with will not only apply to documenting your family history, but will bring you an understanding of some aspects of the work that goes into being an historian and interpreting the past.”

Workshops will take place in the Carriage House at Wistariahurst, and will run for 90 minutes. Pre-registration is strongly suggested, as there is limited space in each workshop, and sellouts are expected. To register, visit www.wistariahurst.org/museum/getting-to-the-stories. Each workshop costs $7 for the public or $5 for museum members.

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