Floyd Story Center

Community Place-based Oral History Program

2011 WWII-era Interview – Arthur Conner with high school student, Aaron Tsang

Floyd Story Center at the Old Church Gallery

Since 1998, a community oral history collection program of the Old Church Gallery, Ltd., in partnership with Radford University’s Center for Social and Cultural Research, Honors Program, Scholar-Citizen Initiative, Appalachian Regional and Rural Studies Center, and Floyd County Public Schools. Floyd Story Center co-directors: Kathleen Ingoldsby and Catherine Pauley. Our archives now hold over 100 interviews.

During our long-running, 2007-2020, Roots with Wings, Floyd Story Center project, Radford University college mentors, Floyd County High School staff and student classes, and community volunteers met weekly during the school year to put into practice the discipline of oral history collection. Pictured here, 2016, is high school teacher Casey Worley, two college mentors, and two high school students learning the process of video and audio recording for capturing high-quality interview media.

Find complete 2007-2020 classroom details and Roots with Wings participants within Floyd County High School Classes listings, and find our Roots with Wings project partners on the menu bar under Join Us on the Oral History Partners page.

Students and community members learn ethical, methodologically-sound interview techniques, practice and complete interviews, transcribe audio, create searchable content logs, archive interviewee resources and period photographs, learn the technology of audio and video recording, research historical backgrounds, acquire proficiency in iMovie and storytelling, and finally extract a theme from an hour-long interview to create a seven-minute movie production.

We named our oral history partnership “Roots with Wings” to represent efforts to initiate high school classes into both a grounded understanding of local history, as well as a hands-on experience of learning new skills. This project plants the roots of intergenerational community relationships and uses state-of-the-art technology wings to share our many stories. See our 2014, four-minute film at right and the Roots with Wings poster below.

In partnership with Radford University, 1999-2002, the project collected interviews based on Floyd County geographic areas including Buffalo Mountain and the Little River. From 2007-2015, our interviews focused on the WWII and Depression-era generation of Floyd County. And, our 2016-2020 Community and Neighborhood series captured the stories of intentional community members in the county as well as place-based respondents. The 2019-2020 program initiated a Superintendent-approved oral history Professional Development Activity for Floyd County Public School teachers, in partnership with the Radford University Center for Social and Cultural Research.

Ongoing Interview Series

Media Projects

From the Front Porch to the Front Lines, a two DVD set of short films and a biographical booklet produced by the Floyd Story Center, Old Church Gallery, Ltd., the product of a nine-year collaboration with Radford University to record and archive the stories of twenty-eight Floyd County residents who came of age during the Great Depression and World War II. This project was a recipient of a 2017 Virginia Humanities grant.