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Bates College−Museum L/A Oral History Project

Promising Approaches

(1) Provide instruction in academic disciplines through the lens of government, history, law and democracy.

(3) Design and implement programs that provide students with the opportunity to apply what they learn through performing community service that is linked to the formal curriculum and classroom instruction.

(4) Encourage and support activities and student and community organizations that provide opportunities for students to be engaged in their campuses and communities.

(7) Encourage and support interactions across cultural differences.

(8) Involve students in the development and sustaining of campus/community partnerships.


The Bates College Center for Service-Learning works to align resources and create opportunities in the community that are sustainable and can meet learning objectives across the curriculum. The Center partners with Museum L/A, a local labor and industry museum, to interview and record retired mill workers' oral histories. More than 50 students from such diverse disciplines as Anthropology and American Cultural Studies have so far documented over 150 personal stories. This resource serves as the foundation of the Museum's oral history collection which will inform exhibits and community education projects. In addition, the materials are made available to outside academic and community researchers. A professional oral historian guided the work to ensure consistency and rigor.

The Museum L/A Oral History Project allows students in various disciplines to fulfill important aspects of their academic objectives. Anthropology students learned rigorous ethnography skills in a real world setting while American Cultural Studies students are able to incorporate their experience into their reflections and writings, analyzing the historical culture of their own experiences and that of the community around them. The Museum affords rich research and service-learning opportunities for Bates College students and faculty. The opportunities for partnering on projects will be broadened to engage other disciplines.

Contact Information

Bates College Center for Service-Learning

Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools: Education for Democracy