Get involved & stay updated

Less than a year since the Project’s online archive was made available to the public, along with a blog (thanks for reading!) and social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, we are steadily gaining visitors to our sites. People are perusing personal archival collections of the Lebanese-American community, keeping up with our announcements, checking out videos, and reading our blog posts.

I have received questions about getting involved in the Project, so I’d like to answer them here.

Contribute a blog post

The blog is a semi-formal forum in which to provide daily updates of the Project, interpret materials that exist in the collection, and offer glimpses into the new collections that we curate and make available online.

Rose's Wedding. Courtesy of Matt Kannan.
Courtesy of Matt Kannan

Materials! If you have already contributed materials to the collection, write a post about them! Is there an anniversary or birthday coming up that you’d like to commemorate? Or would you like to inform the community about the history of the photo and the people or places in it?

Local, current events! If you are reading or listening to something that impacts the community or projects like this one, let us know by writing a short blurb and providing the source.

Your work in the community! If you are active in the community or in the work of researching, documenting and preserving the history of communities in North Carolina, let us know! We are working hard to forge ties with the entire community, but we need your help to inform us of what you’re doing and why you do it!

Donate your materials

Most of the archival materials that populate the collections found in the online archive are generously donated by the Lebanese-American community located throughout the state. If you haven’t donated your materials, contact us! This is a great way to get involved in the Project and contribute to the growing number of primary sources on the community, which are used for educational purposes.  We collect…

  • Oral histories
  • Photographs (framed, unframed, digital, in family albums)
  • Artifacts
  • Artwork
  • Home movies
  • Documents (old letters and envelopes, death certificates, naturalization records, ID cards, etc)

*Don’t forget, if your documents include personal information such as a social security number, please don’t send it!*

Conduct a short oral history

It’s not that intimidating, we promise! Conducting oral histories are easy especially when you are interviewing family and friends. Do you want to know about your grandparents’ lives growing up? What about living in North Carolina as Lebanese? Ever wonder how to make your favorite holiday dish?

Alma Farris. Courtesy of Dorothy Findlen (Farris)
Courtesy of Dorothy Findlen (Farris)

There are two methods the Project uses to capture oral histories…

The whole story! Choose a family member or two (not more than two because then the interview gets complicated) about whom you’d like to know their life story. Make sure the batteries in your recorder are charged and ask away about topics including education, family life, marriage, cooking, children, immigration,struggles, achievements, work and more!

Just one topic! Sometimes, oral  histories can take time that you don’t have, say, over the holidays or when visiting family. A great way to conduct an oral history and learn about your interviewee is to ask about one topic such as culinary traditions, childhood, holidays, marriage, work or education. Asking about a single topic will allow you to dig in without taking up too much time.

We can provide audio recorders and a quick lesson on how to use them. Feel free to use your own recorder or send us a high quality recording from your phone.

Volunteer with the Project

This is a community-supported endeavor. Which means that we could always use help on a range of tasks and projects! If you don’t see one on the list that appeals to you, let us know how you’d like to contribute and we’d be glad to work together!

Courtesy of the Ellis family
Courtesy of the Ellis family

For those with 1-3 hours per week:

  • Donate your materials or encourage family and friends by doing so. Give them a call, write them an email!
  • Buy a copy of the documentary for friends, family and co-workers.
  • Conduct an oral history of someone in your life.

For those with 3-5 hours per week:

  • Curate a portion of a collection: cropping photos, converting home movies or transcribing an interview.
  • Write a blog post.
  • Let us conduct your oral history.
  • Help us make a connection with a community group or family that is not yet involved in the project.

For those with more than 5 hours per week:

  • Curate an entire collection.
  • Help us conduct some research on Lebanese-American history.
  • Help use some technology tools like Google Earth, GPS maps and more!
  • Translate! The Lebanese-American community is a multi-lingual one. We always need assistance in translations especially with transcribing oral histories. This task takes time, but it can be done at your own pace.

Collaborate with your organization or association

The Project works hard to engage with the exciting work that others in the community are pursuing. As an educational Project, we are always looking for new and dynamic avenues to collaborate with the community.

Courtesy of Moise Khayrallah
Courtesy of Moise Khayrallah

As a member of a Lebanese association, would you like to dedicate a portion of your meeting to talk about the Project?

Would you like the Project to house your organizational materials?

Are you involved in digital heritage work like our friends at UNC and would like to propose a joint project?

3 responses on “Get involved & stay updated

  1. Raja Khalifah says:

    This is a wonderful and thoughtful post, Caroline. It should be a must reading to everyone in the Community, as it has great suggestions and ideas. You have opened many doors. Raja K.

  2. nclebanese says:

    Thank you Raja! As I mentioned, we have an increasing number of visitors to our social media sites, but please help me spread the word. As a community project, this is a great opportunity of the Lebanese-Americans throughout the state to get involved in documenting and preserving their own heritage.

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