By Elijah McGuire-Berk
Elm Staff Writer
“History isn’t just something buried in archives,” said Starr Center Director Adam Goodheart to students aspiring to be a part of the Starr Center’s Storyquest, the Center’s oral history program.
The C.V. Starr Center for the American Experience is a historical group that is a part of Washington College. It specializes in studying the history of Chestertown and the areas around it, hosting various events to celebrate its history such as The Annual George Washington Book Prize. Every summer, it hosts an event called Storyquest in which six students are selected to help interview World War II veterans and those who lived through the war. As veterans die, their stories die with them, and Storyquest wants to preserve as many stories as possible. “We’re going to be rescuing history,” Goodheart said about the program. He also referred to it as “giving the gift of preservation” to those who will be interviewed.
This is the sixth semester that the C.V. Starr center has done Storyquest, and according to its Program Director Michael Buckley, “This idea of talking to people is so simple on the surface.” He went on to describe the program as much more than simply speaking to selected individuals, but making sure that their memories are stored for future generations to learn from. Buckley said that the program was based on what he used to do as a radio host. He played interviews he collected from people in the Chestertown area on his show and realized that there was a lot of history rooted in the stories of Chestertown.
Many students showed up to learn about the program. Sophomore Kristen Barnes said, “I just really liked the program.” Senior Dominic Lathos, said he is interested in the program because it is “something that seems like a relevant thing to do after I graduate.”
The summer program is a bit of a way off, but the Starr Center is starting up another program this semester. The spring Storyquest acts as a precursor to the summer program. It will consist of learning about the history of the Chestertown region and about stories collected from previous Storyquest sessions.
Anyone who is interested in interviewing, archiving, history, or is just curious about the Chestertown area can contact Adam Goodheart at email@example.com. The program is not restricted to a certain major, class year, or experience, just a willingness to participate.
“We’re continuing to welcome students who can participate from any major and any class year,” Goodheart said. “We’re going to create a very, very rich archive of material. We’re going to be rescuing history.”