FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 11, 2007
Contact: Jennifer M. Guild, Senior Officer for Public Relations and Marketing
Tel: (804) 342-9665 | Email:
100 Years or Older? Your Life Story Could Be History!
Virginia Historical Society and Community Idea Stations Collaborative Project
Looking For Northern Virginia Residents
Richmond, VA – Prohibition. The Roaring Twenties. Charles Lindbergh's flight across the Atlantic. The Great Depression. World Wars. Suburbanization. Do you remember these events? Do you live in northern Virginia? If so, the Virginia Historical Society (VHS) may be looking for you! Thanks to a Partnership for a Nation of Learners grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the VHS and the Community Idea Stations (WCVE) have started work on an oral history project, Witness to a Century.
"This project will document the dramatic changes that took place in Virginia between 1900 and 2000," said Dr. Charles F. Bryan, Jr., president and CEO of the VHS. "But Witness to a Century reaches beyond your standard history book. It will use the words of the men and women who experienced that important time firsthand—Virginians who are one hundred or more years old."
Testimony from Virginia's centenarians will be used to produce a series of short television segments, a one-hour television documentary, a curriculum guide for use in community senior centers, a public lecture, and materials posted on the VHS and WCVE web sites. The VHS/WCVE collaboration was prompted by the fact that Americans are aging in greater numbers than ever before (there are more than 65,000 centenarians in the United States), and although enormous changes took place in Virginia in the twentieth century, there is a lack of public consciousness about the period.
Ten interviews have been conducted with individuals from across the commonwealth. Now project representatives are looking for 100-year-old residents who have spent a significant portion of their lives in northern Virginia to tell their stories about that ever-changing portion of the state. Interviews will be conducted before January 31, 2008.
Although the VHS cannot guarantee that each centenarian interviewed will be in the final television production, each interview will be transcribed and become a part of the VHS archives. The Society asks that those with a relative 100 or older who lives in the northern Virginia area contact Dr. Paul A. Levengood, managing editor of the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography at 804.342.9673 or email email@example.com.
"The continuing education component of this project is, to me, just as exciting as the documentary production," adds Bryan. "As the population ages, it has become increasingly clear that this age group is underserved by educational programs. Bringing Witness to a Century into senior centers for an interactive educational course will directly address this demonstrated demand. It will help provide the spark that occurs when people see their personal history intersect with a larger history."
Public broadcast of Witness to a Century is scheduled to air over the Community Idea Stations—WCVE and WCVW (Richmond) and WHTJ (Charlottesville)—in late 2008. Educational curriculum developed will be available in downloadable format on the VHS and WCVE web sites.
The Virginia Historical Society is located at 428 N. Boulevard. The Story of Virginia, An American Experience, a 10,000-square-foot exhibition with more than a thousand objects covering all of Virginia history from prehistoric
times to the present is featured in the Robins Center for Virginia History. Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am - 5pm
and Sunday 1pm - 5pm (Museum Galleries only). Admission: $5/adults, $4/seniors 55+ ($2/Tuesdays–galleries
only), $3/children and students, free/members. Admission to the galleries is free on Sundays. For group tour
information, call (804) 342-9652. For more information, please call (804) 358-4901 or visit
The Community Idea Stations are central Virginia's primary producers of local programs, including weekly series such as the award-winning newsmagazine Virginia Currents, the nationally-distributed public affairs series For the Record, and the gardening program Virginia Home Grown. Our performance documentaries include The Music Seen, Laughing Matters with Brett Leake, and the Community Idea Stations Present series. The stations' local productions are regularly accepted for national distribution by PBS or American Public Television, including East of the Blue Ridge, The Ground Beneath Our Feet, Wilder: An American First, and many others.