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Family Stories Assignment

Assignment Details


To practice for the History Harvest, you will interview one of your family members about an object of significance to their family or personal history. Objects can tell rich histories, and it's your job to come up with questions to access those stories. If you cannot locate a family member, please speak with one of the professors individually.

Assignment Steps

  1. Ask a family member to select an object.
  2. Before the interview, use the Sample Interview Questions to formulate your own list of questions. Keep a record of the questions that you used. Read through these oral history tips for advice.
  3. Fill out the Artifact Form together with your family member.
  4. Interview your family member about the object they selected.
  5. Write up your report.


  • Practice for the History Harvest object interviews in a low-stakes setting
  • Practice filling out metadata in advance of the History Harvest
  • Articulate larger ideas contextualizing objects in national narratives

Grade Components

  • Metadata Sheet: Use the Metadata Cheatsheet to fill out all the relevant fields just as you would for the History Harvest | 5 pts
  • Object Stories: Much like Ashley’s Sack, objects tell more than one story. Write two paragraphs (5-6 sentences per paragraph) explaining 1) the broader implications / context of the object to tell a bigger history; and 2) the thematic exhibits that could emerge from an object of this type—get creative, and include a picture! | 5 pts
  • Reflection: Write a paragraph-length reflection on the process. What was rewarding? What parts did you find challenging? Where do you think you can improve? | 5 pts
  • Be prepared to present your item to the class—because who doesn’t like a good Show-and-Tell?