Jan 25th, 2012

Tell Us Your StoryCorps

by  Scott Hornby, Development Writer, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Has anyone ever said something to you that was so funny, so gripping, so moving or so powerful that you wished your mind had a big, red record button?
It’s a sad comment on the state of my mind that I can recite, word-for-word, the dialogue to hundreds of episodes of The Simpsons, yet I can’t recall the details of what Mr. Whalley, my Grade 11 English teacher, said to convince me to take my writing more seriously.  Instead, I’m left with vapor: fragments of emotion and snippets of phrases that may or may not have actually been said. The specific words that changed my life have slowly evaporated over time.
But, what if there was a way to tell a great oral story and have it last?
There is.
StoryCorps is the national oral-history project that records, preserves, and shares the stories of everyday Americans.  StoryCorps basically rolls around the country with a trailer full of audio equipment recording history one 40-minute interview at a time. The resulting stories are archived in the Library of Congress and some even air on NPR.  From March 15th to March 17th, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden will be partnering with StoryCorps to record and preserve the Garden’s oral history.  The visit to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is a gift from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The IMLS and the White House recently recognized Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden as one of the country’s top five museums with a National Medal.   But, back to telling our story: we have a problem…
We can’t tell our story alone.
At its heart, the Garden is more than a plot of land with some pretty flowers. The Garden is a part of the community, and our history is therefore found in the lives we’ve touched and the memories we’ve made. To truly tell the Garden’s story, we need your story. So, we’d like to give you the opportunity to be interviewed by StoryCorps.  One interview from each of the medal winners will be edited and posted to the Institute for Museum and Library Services’ website, plus these interviews will be archived at the Library of Congress.
How has Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden touched your life? If you would enjoy telling your story,  please send us 500 words or less.  We can only choose a few to feature for our StoryCorp project, but we know your stories will be wonderful and we look forward to telling as many as we can via our blog, our website, and other social media.
The Garden will accept story entries from February 1st until midnight on February 15th, and winners will be announced February 22nd.  Update: we are now accepting submissions.

Jonah Holland is Digital Content Manager at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, where she has worked for 14 years overseeing social media, the blog, and the website. She is also a mom, yogi, open water swimmer, gardener, and seeker. She's been known to go for a walk in the Garden and come back with hundreds of plant photos, completely inspired to write her next blog post.

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