Exploring California History Through Intergenerational Storytelling

California History – intergenerational storytelling field trip
California History – intergenerational storytelling field trip

This year, Voice of Witness was able to expand the scope and impact of our ongoing intergenerational storytelling project with middle school students and elders.

As in previous years, multilingual learners from Willie Brown Middle School in San Francisco used oral history interviewing techniques to build relationships with residents at Sequoia Living, a local nonprofit that provides affordable housing and social services to low-income seniors across the Bay Area. This year, a Civics + Humanities grant from California Humanities enabled the VOW education team to build new lesson plans. These additional lessons supported students and elders to explore their personal connections to California history, culminating in a field trip to the Oakland Museum of California

VOW designed a field trip experience that aligns with our mission to humanize history through first-person accounts. As they moved throughout the Gallery of California History, students and seniors engaged with activities to spark conversations and learning. Students had the opportunity to share about their families’ journeys to California, and seniors shared personal stories from notable moments in California history, from Japanese incarceration to the Black Power movement, and more.

This new iteration of VOW’s intergenerational storytelling project expanded the impact of oral history education in action. Venturing outside the classroom with oral history activities allowed students to practice their speaking and listening skills in English, develop interpersonal skills, and grow their knowledge of California history in an authentic, engaging setting. The personalized field trip to OMCA demonstrated how bringing oral history to museums and other cultural spaces creates valuable opportunities for connection and deep learning for students, families, and community members alike.

Interested in collaborating on curriculum or a field trip? Work with us!

Oral history-based education fosters:
  • Social-Emotional Learning
  • Critical Thinking
  • Literacy (Reading and Writing)
  • Communication
  • Empathy & Belonging
  • Community Engagement & Participation

This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit www.calhum.org. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed on this website do not necessarily represent those of California Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Join Our Newsletter


Next Steps: Sync an Email Add-On

To get the most out of your form, we suggest that you sync this form with an email add-on. To learn more about your email add-on options, visit the following page (https://www.gravityforms.com/the-8-best-email-plugins-for-wordpress-in-2020/). Important: Delete this tip before you publish the form.
Name *(Required)
I want to recieve:(Required)
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.