The Rainbow History Project is a 501(c)(3) non-profit community history project and archive focused on queer histories in the Washington, D.C. area. Founded in the digital age, RHP has made frequent use of digital tools for its archival and historic work. Part of this history is the use of oral histories as a way of animating history with the voices of those who were there.
The problem for many, however, is that these voices aren’t always going to be heard. They’ll lay dormant on the internet with no actual attachment or relevance to the real world. Making a mediation for this archive, then, is the purpose of this print proposal. In short, the creation of a tour app through the use of out-of-the-box mapping tools to attach relevant clips and oral histories to maps and locations would be a great step toward bringing these voices alive.
The most important thing about this kind of project is, of course, maintaining shared authority, and whenever possible, the option for narrators to re-record, film video, or contribute materials for inclusion in the app would be welcome.
It obviously stands to reason that financially this would be a serious undertaking, and certainly one that’s fraught with certain risk on the time side, but as with any digital media effort, following best practices and ensuring an adherence to certain protocol in material sourcing and use would ensure the maximum possible opportunity for inclusion and access for partners and collaboration.