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The Remembering St. Petersburg Oral History Project: Youth Empowerment and Heritage Preservation Through a Community Museum



This article reveals how the “Remembering St. Petersburg Oral History Project” empowered African American youth through nontraditional methods of learning African American history and culture in their own neighborhoods, allowing youth to gain a greater appreciation for their elders. Additionally the project enhanced their communication, computer, and professional skills for future success. The project involved urban youth ages 14–18 and elders over the age of 65 in the Midtown area of St. Petersburg, Florida. We used taped oral narratives, archival materials, and donated personal artifacts, to capture the memories and stories of the elders for a museum exhibit. In this article, I explore some of the challenges in the data collection-museum exhibit process: training youth, proper representation of the elders, and interactions with residents and museum contributors. This project serves as a guide to illustrate the challenges anthropologists face in heritage preservation in African American community museums, educating youth on African American history, and the decision-making process in the development of a successful Oral History project and museum exhibit in the African American community.