What You'll Hear in the Oral History Collection

The Wisconsin Veterans Museum Oral History Collection contains personal stories and military experiences of Wisconsin veterans of the Spanish-American War through present-day. The more than 2,800 interviews complement the archive and object collections to build a complete description of military service.

Oral History Program Q&A

What is considered oral history?
Oral history is a field of study and a method of gathering, preserving and interpreting the voices and memories of people, communities, and participants in past events. Wisconsin Veterans Museum interviews consist of a narrator and an interviewer who have agreed to record a dialogue that will be publicly accessible and used as a primary historical source.

Who qualifies to be interviewed for the Wisconsin Veterans Museum Oral History Program? 
We record and collect oral history interviews with Wisconsin-connected veterans, from all branches of service and all eras and conflicts. Every story is an important part of the narrative we tell at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum.

How are the interviews collected?
The majority of the interviews are conducted by staff or trained adult volunteers. We also have interviews in the collection that were donated by individuals or a variety of organizations statewide and across the nation.

How can these interviews be used?
WVM holds copyrights to most (but not all) of the interviews in the collection. Education and research use is permitted for all interviews in the collection. Patrons may NOT make copies of the interviews without permission from WVM. Restrictions on other types of use may apply - please contact the WVM Oral Historian with questions.

How can these interviews be accessed?

  • Online
    • Using Google, search using the person's full name and add the words "oral history interview" This will provide a direct link to the audio/video, transcript, or index, in our interactive media player.
    • Using our online collections database , hit the "Archives" tab and type in the person's full name. In the results, click on the name and this will take you to their oral history record that then links to the audio/video interview and transcript/index at the bottom of the page.
    • Using WorldCat.org, type in the text box "Oral History Interview with " and the person's full name. In the list of results, click on the appropriate title and this will take you to the WorldCat/OCLC catalog entry. Then click on the "Show more information" tab and click on the "wisvetmuseum.com" in the "More Information" This will take you to the audio/video interview and transcript/index.
    • Some transcripts can be found on our Transcripts page, where they are arranged by conflict.
  • On-Site Access
    Only by appointment with the oral historian, patrons may access recordings, transcripts, and other materials that are restricted to building access.

Can I donate an oral history that I conducted?
Yes, if the narrator is a Wisconsin-connected veteran, is accompanied by a Wisconsin Veterans Museum Deed of Gift signed by both the narrator and interviewer, a written summary, interview information sheet, and a preservation master copy. For more information, contact the oral historian.

How do I arrange an interview for myself or someone I know?
If you or someone you know would like to be interviewed, please review these documents Program information, What to expect, Deed of Gift, and complete the Interview Request Form. Return the Interview Request Form to the Oral Historian. We will respond by conducting a pre-interview phone call with the veteran, assign an interviewer, and schedule the interview.

How do I volunteer with the WVM Oral History Program?
Contact the oral historian for details.

What can I volunteer for?

  • Video producer
  • Audio producer
  • Media curator
  • Cataloger
  • Summary writer
  • Editor
  • Audit checker
  • Interviewer

How do I cite an oral history interview in the collection?

  • Footnote
    Violet Armstrong interview by Luke D. Sprague, September 24, 2019, OH 02172, Wisconsin Veterans Museum Oral History Collection, Madison, WI. https://wisvetsmuseum.com/ohms-viewer/render.php?cachefile=OH_02172.xml (accessed October 26, 2020).
  • Bibliography
    Armstrong, Violet. Interview by Luke D. Sprague. September 24, 2019. Wisconsin Veterans Museum Oral History Collection, Madison, Wisconsin.



Luke Sprague
Oral Historian
Office: 608.261.0537
Copyright © 2011-2023 Wisconsin Veterans Museum