We Want Veterans for Interviews
If you are a US military veteran of any war, conflict, crisis or intervening period, we want to interview you; please contact us. Your story does not have to be action filled, just a narrative of military life on a particular ship/station/location will do. These interviews will be recorded on video if you can come to the Battleship New Jersey in Camden, NJ.
If you are too far away or have limited mobility, we can do a video recording using the Internet and Skype software or an audio recording over the telephone. Contact us for more information.
What is Oral History
These recordings are called Oral Histories. Oral history collects spoken memories and personal commentaries of historical significance through recorded interviews. An oral history interview generally consists of a well-prepared interviewer questioning an interviewee and recording their exchange on audio or videotape. Tapes of the interview are transcribed, summarized, or indexed and then placed in a library or archives These interviews may be used for research or excerpted in a publication, radio or video documentary, museum exhibition, dramatization, or other form of public presentation. From: Ritchie, Donald A., Doing Oral History: A Practical Guide, 2nd ed., Oxford University Press, 2003, p. 19.
Who We Are
We are a group of volunteers on the Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial in Camden New Jersey who serve by honoring those who served and preserving their narratives.
We have been done over 300 oral history interviews of U.S. military veterans since the start of the program in 2000. Oral History is a recorded interview of an eyewitness to history, told in the witness’ own words. Our program specializes in military veterans. Most of our veterans’ stories are video recorded. We specialize in US Navy veterans, but interview members of other US armed forces, civilian workers and museum volunteers as well. We also specialize in veterans of the Battleship New Jersey, but crew members of other vessels tell their stories also. We have interviewed veterans from World War II, the Korean conflict, the Vietnam War, conflict in the Middle East, the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the intervening years.
Excerpts from Oral History Interviews: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSQ8bKLalWQ (total running time: 14 minutes)
- David Kershaw, Corp., Tech. 3/c, US Army, Patton’s 3rd Army, Battle of the Bulge, Winter 1944-45, France & Belgium; Interviewed 27 Oct 2011
- Edward Holweger, USN, AMM 3/c, USS Monterey (CV-26), 1944, Pacific Ocean; interviewed 24 Aug 2010
- Walker T. Jason, USN, BM 1/c, WWII, 1942-45 & Korea, 1950-51, USS New Jersey, (BB-62), Mount Captain, 5: gun; interviewed 25 Nov 2011.
- Miriam Rossetti, USN WAVE, Storekeeper 3/c, WWII, 1944-45, Naval Air Station New York, Floyd Bennett Field; interviewed 19 Mar 2014.
- Edward Rossetti, Pfc, US Army Air Corps & Infantry, WWII 1944, England, France (Normandy), Belgium, Germany; interviewed via Skype & Internet 26 Aug 2013
Who Uses our Recordings?
We not only make the recorded interviews available to researchers, historians, writers, educators, and the general public, but also provide a DVD/CD recording of the interview to the veteran, so he or she can share it with family and future generations.
Our recorded interviews are shared with the Veterans History Project of the Library of Congress in Washington, DC and the New Jersey State Library in Trenton, New Jersey, subject to permissions and any restrictions by the interviewee. Some of the interviews will be made available online by these institutions.
Interviewing, How and Where
On the Battleship New Jersey in Camden, NJ
Most of our interviews are done in our studio aboard the Battleship New Jersey located on the waterfront in Camden, New Jersey, where we have the appropriate lighting and camera equipment. However, if it is too difficult or too far to come to the Battleship, we can do interviews in a number of other ways:
In Moorestown, NJ
We have an auxiliary studio in Moorestown, New Jersey where we can video record interviews.
Via Skype and the Internet
If you have a desktop or laptop computer and a webcam (camera), we can do a video interview and recording over the Internet using Skype software, which is free and easy to download from the Internet to your computer.
We can do an audio only recording over the telephone (toll-free).
Most interviews run 30 to 60 minutes.
Volunteer to Help the Program
If you would like to volunteer to help the oral history program of the Battleship New Jersey, contact us. We need help in scheduling, setting up and conducting interviews, videography, audio recording, editing video & audio recordings, coding of interview content for digital search, including: abstracting, transcribing, indexing by keyword and/or subject; data entry into a database, generation of DVD/CDs, distribution of recordings, record-keeping, fundraising, and related administrative work. If you have experience in any of these areas, great, but it is not necessary as we provide training.
Donate to Our Program to Help Sustain It
The years we have been doing interviews have taken a toll on the equipment provided by the original funding grants and need replacement badly now.
We would like to transition to newer technology, such as digital memory and hard disks for recording video instead of tapes. However, these technologies require more recent computer equipment than we have.
We Need Your Help
We ask you to help us preserve and honor the memories of those who served their country. Can you donate funds or needed equipment, so we can sustain this program? The veterans we interview and their families will thank you for your contribution. Generations of future historians, writers, educators, and students will also thank you.
Acknowledgement of Your Contribution
Your contribution will be acknowledged on the Battleship New Jersey. Your contribution may be tax deductible as the Battleship New Jersey is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
To Contribute Funds
Make your check or money order payable to Battleship New Jersey & write Oral History Program in the memo field or on an attached note. Mail to: Battleship New Jersey Museum & Memorial, Oral History Program, 62 Battleship Place, Camden, NJ 08103.
History of the Program
The program was started in 2000 by Professor Emeritus Dr. Thomas Banit, while he was professor of history and education at Kean University in New Jersey. Most of the initial funding went to purchase video recording and transcribing equipment and a computer. We have done over 300 interviews, most aboard the Battleship New Jersey, but we have other ways to interview as well.
Interview of Dr. Thomas Banit, founder of the Oral History Program of the Battleship New Jersey (https://youtu.be/A_6wLYOWXmQ).
Veterans History Project of the Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/vets/
New Jersey State Library: http://www.njstatelib.org/
Battleship New Jersey: http://www.battleshipnewjersey.org/
Oral History Association: http://www.oralhistory.org/
TRG Historic Naval History Presentations: http://www.trghistoric.com/presentations.php
Contact: Ron Gottardi, Volunteer Director, Oral History Program
Battleship New Jersey Museum & Memorial, 62 Battleship Place, Camden, NJ 08103
866-877-6262 x222 (toll free)
Our Affiliated Libraries
New Jersey State Library, An affiliate of Thomas Edison State College
185 West State Street, PO Box 520, Trenton NJ 08625
Veterans History Project of the Library of Congress
The Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave, SE
Washington, DC 20540
Phone: (202) 707-4916
Toll-Free: (888) 371-5848
FAX: (202) 252-2046
Web Site: http://www.loc.gov/vets