Click to find out more about some of the stories in our collection.

What We Do

Story Preservation Initiative® is an oral history-based educational resource that professionally audio records first-hand narratives of people who have made extraordinary contributions in the arts, sciences, and humanities, as well as eyewitnesses to history.

We work to share and integrate our growing collection into the public domain and teaching and learning environments. We are able to accomplish these goals through our various initiatives – each developed to be as accessible as possible and to meet the needs of different segments of the population.

By the simple yet profoundly important act of telling us their story, the artists, scientists, writers, poets, and others that we record are helping us to better understand the world in which we live – and the world as it is changing. By humanizing science, personalizing art, and making individual the events of a time gone by, our collection of personal narratives offers a unique and powerful springboard to learning.

Our Initiatives


  • The Learning Lab  Engaging Students Through Story
    Story Preservation Initiative’s Learning Lab brings its audio recordings of those of high achievement in the arts, sciences, and humanities together with related project-based lesson plans for use in K-12 classrooms. Teachers use the recordings to bring students into personal contact with the first-person stories of extraordinary people who talk about not only what they have accomplished but also how and why. This direct contact seizes students’ imaginations and propels them into areas of substantive content.We supplement the recordings with audiovisual materials, photos and graphics, original documents, hyperlinks to related sites, and other resources that lead students deeper into subject areas. We guide teachers in structuring these explorations by supplying open-ended prompts, helping teachers develop their own projects, as well as by making available detailed project-based lesson plans created by experienced educators. Story engages the students; project-based experiences deepen the learning.


  • Story Preservation Initiative Blog
    This site contains all Story Preservation audio oral histories in their entirety. Our unique, often highly personal recordings allow listeners entry into the lives of those who are, through their work, challenging the status quo or altering the landscape within their field of inquiry. Eyewitnesses to history offer unfiltered, first hand accounts of events and experiences that are part of our collective consciousness.


  • Story Preservation Initiative Library Archive
    Our audio recordings are housed at the National Audio Visual Conservation Center at the Library of Congress; the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C.; the Atomic Heritage Foundation, Washington, D.C.; the New Hampshire State Library, Concord, NH; in numerous university libraries nationwide; and in the personal archives of many in our collection.

Here’s just one SPI Learning Lab project currently underway.

There’s More to Color than Meets the Eye

This project was designed for high school students and integrates art and science.

Students will learn about the science behind color from in-class projects and listening to Story Preservation’s audio recording of Harvard- Smithsonian Astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell.

Topics touched upon in the audio and through in-class projects include spectroscopy, color vs. pigment, and understanding the meaning of color in our world through the lens of science.

The project then segues into art.

For this part of the project students will engage with Story Preservation's audio recording of painter / colorist Wolf Kahn. Through in-class lessons, students will learn about color temperature and use warm and cool colors to create advancing and receding shapes, as well as learn various ways of blending oil pastels to create visual effects.

Using Wolf's art and use of color as inspiration students will create an original work of art. The capstone to this project will be students creating an exhibit of their art to share with other students, community members, and parents.