For over a decade, the Mass. Memories Road Show has celebrated and documented the stories that connect people in Massachusetts to their communities. In this period, the program has come a long way. With the help of volunteers and community partners, the Mass. Memories Road Show has collected over 8,000 images and more than 1,000 video interviews. The Mass. Memories Road Show collection includes contributions from nearly 40 communities and University Archives & Special Collections at UMass Boston continues to work toward representing all 351 towns in the Commonwealth.
“We began collecting video interviews at one of the Dorchester Mass. Memories Road Shows in 2006,” recalls Joanne Riley, University Archivist and Curator of Special Collections. Riley enlisted a UMass Boston undergraduate student to record the first interviews, and the Video Station soon became a standard feature of all Mass. Memories Road Show events. The Road Show team met Liz Clancy Lerner at the Quincy Mass. Memories Road Show in 2007 and the following year began working with her and her father Jack Clancy, of Best Dog Ever Films, to record and edit the videos in a consistent manner.
“Contributors are excited to describe their photographs,” explained Road Show program coordinator Carolyn Goldstein, “and many of them choose to sit for a video interview to share ‘the stories behind their photos’ or other memories.”
“Throughout the years I have laughed and cried at the stories I’ve recorded,” recalls Liz Clancy Lerner. “I’ve been thrilled at the enthusiasm I see for history in the communities I’ve visited. This is a special project that records what’s often seen as ordinary family stories, but when you dig a little deeper, and really hear how they impact individual families, you see how much these images and anecdotes truly are the beating heart of these Massachusetts communities. I can’t wait to hear more!”
All of the video interviews collected at the Mass. Memories Road Shows from 2006 through 2016 are available online now for research. Some of the newest additions to the collection are the video recordings from early Road Shows held in Dorchester, Quincy, Reading, Stoneham, and Duxbury. Interviews from more recent Mass. Memories Road Show events in Martha’s Vineyard, Spencer, and Hyde Park are also available.
These videos preserve the family histories, childhood memories, activities, and experiences that together help tell the complex personal history of Massachusetts.
Explore the Mass. Memories Road Show video collection here.
Caroline Littlewood is a graduate assistant in University Archives & Special Collections and a graduate student in History (Public History Track) at UMass Boston.
The Mass. Memories Road Show is a statewide digital history project that documents people, places and events in Massachusetts history through family photographs and stories. In partnership with teams of local volunteers, we organize public events to scan family and community photographs and videotape “the stories behind the photos.” The images and videos are indexed and incorporated into an online educational database. Since its launch, the project has gathered more than 9,000 photographs and stories from across the state. It is supported in part by the Patricia C. Flaherty ’81 Endowed Fund at UMass Boston.
University Archives & Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston was established in 1981 as a repository to collect archival material in subject areas of interest to the university, as well as the records of the university itself. The mission and history of UMass Boston guide the collection policies of University Archives & Special Collections, with the university’s urban mission and strong support of community service reflected in the records of and related to urban planning, social welfare, social action, alternative movements, community organizations, war and social consequence, and local history related to neighboring communities. To learn more, visit blogs.umb.edu/archives.