The story behind the photos: Video interviews from the Mass. Memories Road Show

The Mass. Memories Road Show team is thrilled to announce that the video interviews collected at Mass. Memories Road Shows over the past 10 years are starting to become available at For this progress, we thank Lael Dalal, a summer intern from the archives program at Simmons College’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science, who has developed a workflow for editing and cataloging the videos and for uploading them to our online platform. So far, Lael has uploaded the videos for Brewster, Halifax, Irish Immigrant Experience, MiltonStoughton, and, most recently, Provincetown.

In this blog post, Lael shares her experience working with the video interviews in the collection:

While at UMass Boston, I have had a chance to work with what I think are the most intriguing elements of the Mass. Memories Road Show collection–the video interviews. Before I arrived, I had only a vague idea of what a Road Show entailed. I quickly discovered that at each event participants bring photographs to be scanned and cataloged. In addition, they can sit for a short interview and explain the “story behind the photos” in front of a video camera. These wonderful videos, most of which were recorded by Jack Lerner and Liz Clancy of Best Dog Ever Films, offer invaluable context for the photographs and written stories in the collection.

Andre Rouse and his daughter Trinity at the Stoughton Mass. Memories Road Show

All of the videos record contemporary personal stories for posterity. Some are endearing and heartbreaking. One of my favorites is of Andre Rouse and his young daughter Trinity at the Stoughton Mass. Memories Road Show. They brought photographs of themselves over the years at Stoughton events and family gatherings. While the photos show them participating together in community activities, the video captures their sweet relationship and shows how a loving father has raised his daughter after his wife passed away.

Lawren F. Cohen at the Brewster Mass. Memories Road Show

Other very personal videos also provide a sense of what a community was like at a particular period in history. One of my favorites is from Lawren F. Cohen in Brewster, where he shares memories growing up by the ocean during the Great Depression. He describes the hardships he endured–including hunting for his family so they could eat– yet recalls the time fondly. He lights up and laughs when he recalls working at an old country store as a young man, where he and other “rouges” would hangout and cause a ruckus.

Cornelius McEleney at the Irish Immigrant Experience Mass. Memories Road Show

Cornelius McEleney at the Irish Immigrant Experience Mass. Memories Road Show is another video near to my heart. This thematic event focused on a particular cultural group, rather than on a town or city in Massachusetts. McEleney came from Ireland many years ago and towards the end of the video sings a beautiful song about the trials and tribulations of Irish immigrants who came to America. The song is a unique complement to the photos that he contributed.

The videos tell varied and multi-faceted stories and serve as important documents connecting the past to the present. You can view the videos at by browsing each Road Show and by searching for “video” in each Road Show’s collection.

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