An Oral History of Beekeeping
The ABF Education Committee presents a project to record the oral history of beekeeping using StoryCorps DIY. We agree with the StoryCorps mission of “Reminding one another of our shared humanity, to strengthen and build the connections between people, to teach the value of listening, and to weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that everyone’s story matters.”
The beekeeping community is a small one; however, it is changing rapidly and we would like collect, share and preserve our beekeeping history. We want to embrace the voices and stories of beekeepers and our StoryCorps DIY recordings will become a valuable archive for future generations.
To listen to the ABF community’s stories, click here: archive.storycorps.org/communities/american-beekeeping-federation
Get inspired by other stories by listening to example recordings on the StoryCorps app or storycorps.org. If you can’t record a story in person, record your audio using a program like Zoom and upload it to the ABF community page by creating a profile on a computer. You can add in a title, description and picture. Check out the StoryCorps DIY project here: diy.storycorps.org
Record a story with a friend, mentor, or family member by following these steps:
- Download the “StoryCorps” app. When creating your account, enter “ABFStories” in the community code section to be automatically included in the ABF community.
- Identify your partner and ask if they are willing to be interviewed.
- Prepare for the interview. Pick three to five questions to ask your partner. Be prepared to ask your partner follow-up questions, like, “How did that make you feel,” or “What did you learn?” Write down or use the app to enter your questions and topics. Here are some example questions:
- How did you get into beekeeping?
- What is your specialty?
- What lessons has beekeeping taught you?
- Do you have any favorite beekeeping stories?
- Tell me about the first time you opened up a beehive or your earliest memory of bees or beekeeping?
- How has the beekeeping industry has changed since you started beekeeping? How have those changes affected you?
- What do you hope the world looks like for bees in 10 years? 20 years?
- Do you plan on retiring? If so, when? How do you feel about it?
- Sit down with your partner in a quiet room. A small, carpeted room is best for audio.
- If possible, put your phone on airplane mode and turn on wifi. A phone call will stop the interview. If this happens, the audio can be stitched together using a free audio program like Audacity.
- Use the app to record your interview by following their simple instructions. You will have 45 minutes.
- Once the interview is over, end by thanking your partner and then stop the recording.
- Take a picture of you and your partner when prompted by the app.
- Fill out the information about the interview. We welcome you to make the interview public and share with the American Beekeeping Federation community. If you choose to share your story, it will be preserved long-term in the Library of Congress.
- That’s it! Have fun learning more about someone important to you!