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< Oral History

Frequently Asked Questions

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Does the Museum conduct oral history interviews?

The Museum conducts a limited number of interviews every year. If you or someone you know would like to be considered for an interview, please complete the online form, and someone will contact you.

Do you have copies of the Shoah Foundation interviews?

The interviews conducted by Steven Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation are now part of the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive. Written information about the interviews, including interviewee name, is included in the Museum’s online catalog. Shoah Foundation interviews may be viewed only in the Museum’s Library and Archives reading rooms, or any of the other Visual History Archive’s access sites.

How do I conduct an interview?

The Museum’s Oral History Interview Guidelines (PDF), last updated in 2007, is a unique reference guide to aid members of the public interested in conducting interviews. The guide contains step-by-step suggestions for making initial contact with an interviewee, conducting research and preparing questions for the interview, and producing transcripts and summaries to help make the interview(s) accessible to researchers.

How can I donate an interview?

The Museum is actively collecting Holocaust-related interviews conducted by individuals and institutions. Please contact oralhistory@ushmm.org for more information about the donation process.

Can I donate a copy of my interview produced by another organization?

Yes, if the Museum has an existing agreement with the organization that conducted the interview. There may be copyright restrictions that prevent the acquisition of interviews conducted by some institutions. We cannot accept copies of interviews produced by the Shoah Foundation even though we serve as an access point for their collection.

What types of media/formats do you accept?

While the Museum is moving beyond physical media, we do accept a broad range of interviews in analog and digital formats.

What types of subject matter do you accept?

We accept a broad spectrum of Holocaust-related experiences. Please contact oralhistory@ushmm.org with subject-specific questions.

Do you accept donations of interviews in languages other than English?

Yes.

I have an interview in a written format which I would like to donate.

Written testimonies are part of the Museum’s archival collection. Please contact the Reference Desk for further information.

If an interview is in a foreign language, can I request a translation?

Existing transcriptions and translations of interviews are available as part of the catalog record. The Museum does not provide translations on request.

Can I volunteer to transcribe or translate interviews at the Museum?

Yes, the Museum needs volunteers to transcribe and/or translate its oral testimonies. In addition to English-language oral testimonies, the Museum also has interviews in more than 30 languages. Please contact the volunteer office if you would like to volunteer to transcribe or translate interviews for the Museum. You do not need to be in Washington, DC, to volunteer as a transcriber or translator.

Who do I contact if I find an error in the Museum’s online catalog?

If you encounter an error in the catalog, please contact the reference desk through the online form.

Can I use testimonies from the Museum’s collection in a production?

Requests to obtain high-resolution copies of interviews and permission to use interviews are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Contact permissions@ushmm.org to initiate a request. Once the use has been approved, Museum staff can provide the high-res digital copy via FTP at no cost.