The Oral History Association (OHA) is pleased to announce the selection of Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, as its new institutional home, along with the addition of new incoming co-directors Dr. Louis Kyriakoudes, director of the university’s Albert Gore Research Center, and history professor Dr. Kristine McCusker. MTSU will begin as the new home of OHA in January 2018.
OHA, the principal organization of practicing oral historians in the United States, enjoys a national and international reputation as a leader in the field of oral history. Its members include more than 850 individuals from a variety of disciplines and professional fields, and more than 180 partner institutions including university programs and centers, libraries and archives, museums, historical societies, and community-based programs.
“As president of the Oral History Association, I want to say how pleased we are about this new partnership,” said Doug Boyd, President of OHA. “The coming together of MTSU and OHA strengthens both organizations and will profoundly elevate the oral history community on so many levels. Dr. McCusker and Dr. Kyriakoudes bring a new energy to our organization and represent MTSU’s incredible commitment to oral history and public history over the years. This transition represents a powerful and exciting new era for the OHA.”
Boyd also expressed gratitude for the work done by Georgia State University, Department of History, and Arizona State University, School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies, which have shared responsibility for day-to-day operations at OHA. “Both Georgia State and ASU have been tremendous partners and have helped OHA get to this point” said Boyd. “We are grateful for all they have done.”
OHA began its search for a new home last January, with a focus on expanding its membership, strengthening its national presence, and advancing new initiatives in the field.
Enthusiasm for the new partnership was shared by OHA search committee chair Dan Kerr, the Director of the Public History Program at American University. “MTSU is uniquely positioned to host the Oral History Association given the deep commitment to oral history as a practice across the university,” said Kerr. “With key supporting, internal partners that work in historic preservation, archival management, cultural resource management, museum management, history, and music, the MTSU team represents many of the core constituents within OHA’s active membership, and we will be in good hands with our new co-directors. Beyond that, there is a clear buy in for OHA by the directors of the Public History Program, Center for Popular Music, and the Center for Historic Preservation. They have come together to form the Oral History Practices Committee, a group that spearheaded the effort to generate the proposal and one that will now work to integrate OHA into MTSU.”
Formally organized in 1966, OHA hosts an annual meeting in the fall that showcases the best work in the field; it publishes and sponsors the Oral History Review (OHR), the principal journal in the oral history field in the United States. The OHA is governed by an eight-member Council and is guided by its mission to “bring together people interested in oral history as a way of collecting and interpreting memories to foster knowledge and dignity” and the key values of democracy, inclusivity, and quality in the practice of oral history.