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Keeping history and sharing stories

On November 6th, the Museum of Jewish Heritage will open the Keeping History Center, providing an interactive experience for New York visitors that allows them to record and add their own stories to the historical record.  This project is near and dear to us at the Jewish Women's Archive, since we have worked since our start 13 years ago to record the untold and unheard stories of American Jewish women -- stories like the one shared in this podcast.

The Keeping History Center's first phase will feature Voices of Liberty, a "soundscape composed of diverse voices responding to arriving in America for the first time, including Holocaust survivors, Soviet rufuseniks, and others."  The second phase will "allow visitors to use state-of-the-art technology to add their own voices, 'curate' their own experiences, and understand that they themselves are part of the history they keep."

Voices of Liberty is reminiscent of a project JWA undertook over 10 years ago to record and preserve the life stories of 30 elderly women from TempleIsrael in Boston called Women Whose Lives Span the Century. This innovative project used interviews of women in their 80s and 90s, conducted by women in their 30s and 40s, to create an intergenerational exhibit that utililized oral history, personal photographs, mementos, other objects, and contemporary works of art to present a complex picture of Jewish American women in the 20th Century.

The audio clip featured here is an excerpt from the oral history interview of Martha Finn, in which she describes her grandmother's reaction upon seeing the Statue of Liberty for the first time on her arrival in America. 

Stories like Martha Finn's remind us of the value in telling, recording, and sharing stories so that they may help form a more inclusive and complete historical record.  Did this clip move you or bring back a memory? Share your story in the comments.

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Martha Finn describes her grandmother's reaction upon seeing the Statue of Liberty for the first time on her arrival in America, in the late 1880s. Excerpt from Women Whose Lives Span the Century.
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How to cite this page

Berkenwald, Leah. "Keeping history and sharing stories." 7 October 2009. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on January 23, 2018) <>.


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