Oral History Grant: Saline Stories

SalineStoriesCroppedAs part of our 2014 Oral History grant line, we supported the effort to obtain personal stories about life near the iconic Great Salt Lake.

During the first year (2014) of Saline Stories: An Oral History of Great Salt Lake, American West Center interviewers Greg Smoak and Becky Lloyd conducted interviews with 14 narrators who know the lake in very personal ways. From an avian biologist to a brine shrimper to the commodore of the Great Salt Lake Yacht Club, the diversity of their experience reflects the project’s goal of capturing the lived history of the lake from multiple perspectives.

On May 22, 2014, four of those narrators – Don Paul, Hikmet Loe, Genevieve Atwood, and Lynn de Freitas participated in an event at the Salt Lake Public Library that highlighted the project. About one hundred community members were in attendance. The interviews from the project will be made available at the State history research center and the University of Utah’s Marriott Library.

A website that includes streaming sound files and other resources is under construction. The American West Center will continue the project and it is anticipated the final collection will include over one hundred interviews.

Greg Smoak, Director of the American West Center, remarks that “It was important to record the stories of as many stakeholder groups as possible because Great Salt Lake has been so important in Utah's history and because it remains critical to Utah's future and because today its value is poorly understood by so many Utahns. Hopefully this project will document the diverse values and meanings of Great Salt Lake and lead to greater public appreciation and interest in its future.”

Visit our Center for Local Inititatives and our Grants page for more information on how we support this type of local humanities project.

Visit our Ideas in Action page for more stories about how our work in the humanities is improving communities across the state.