Learning While Doing

Conducting Oral Histories in Class


  • Wendy Soltz Ball State University https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7001-127X
  • Lars Arceneaux Ball State University
  • Claire Matney Ball State University
  • Halle Pressler Ball State University




history, Recording history, Teaching History, Indiana History, local history, oral history


In Spring 2023, Dr. Wendy Soltz's Introduction to Public History class at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana worked directly with the public by preparing for and conducting oral histories. The project was a collaboration between the Public History Program, Fort Wayne Historic Preservation, Neighborhood Planning & Activation, and Parks Departments, and the Jennings Center. Students worked with Fort Wayne City staff to develop questions and learn about the project from the “client’s” point of view and to learn about the history of the center and oral history best practices. The resulting oral history recordings help to document the life of the Center and its impact on the East Central Neighborhood of Fort Wayne, Indiana. This article provides the perspectives of three students in the class and the unexpected learning that took place while doing public history. 


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How to Cite

Soltz, Wendy, Lars Arceneaux, Claire Matney, and Halle Pressler. 2023. “Learning While Doing: Conducting Oral Histories in Class”. Teaching History: A Journal of Methods 48 (1):55-60. https://doi.org/10.33043/TH.48.1.55-60.

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