Oral History

Since 1948, the Minnesota Historical Society has used oral history to document Minnesota’s past and present.

MNHS's oral history collection includes more than 1,600 interviews with Minnesotans from across the state. Beginning in 1984, MNHS has also operated a video history program to complement a number of its oral history projects. In 2009, the oral history office began digitizing its entire collection and today boasts the largest digitized collection in the country. Full audio interviews and transcripts are available online.

Oral history provides a rich resource of information that usually does not exist in any other form. Our oral history collection includes information on such topics as politics, business, labor, agriculture, the environment, ethnicity, religion, and education. These and other topics are part of an oral history program that documents specific issues in the state’s history and current affairs.

MNHS's oral history office also offers advice and workshops to civic and community groups interested in using oral history in their own work. The PDFs below have been produced by the oral history office as helpful guides that highlight some best practices to consider when undertaking your own oral history project.