Veterans History Project and Women’s History Month


This is my inaugural post and thanks to the Archives and Public History Program for the (cyber) space.

I work at the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress, which has teamed up with NARA, NEH, the National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian and USHMM to pay tribute to women and their accomplishments, from ecology to aviation. (Here’s the official site).

The Veterans History Project has collected the oral history testimony of thousands of women who’ve participated in America’s defining conflicts of the 20th and 21st centuries. You can listen to a handful of highlighted stories in our web-feature “Women of Four Wars” and you can search our database to learn about Women Airforce Service Pilots in World War II, nurses in Vietnam and Korea, and female helicopter pilots in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Sometimes it’s easy to be cynical about our national history months. There seems to be one every month, and the celebrations can be a bit hokie or simplistic. Oral history helps reinforce what these months are supposed to be about.  Women’s History Month celebrates extraordinary women in order to recognize how inextricable their contributions are to the accomplishments of America as a whole, as well as empower younger generations. The experiences of military women collected by the Veterans History Project illuminate how “ordinary” women became extraordinary through their actions under the most trying of circumstances.  It reminds us that events do not define us, but rather how we respond to events. Military women have consistently responded in historic ways.

How else does oral history work to enhance and add meaning to our national history months? I’d be interested to hear comments from those at other institutions.

About Jason Steinhauer

Jason Steinhauer is a proud graduate of the NYU History Department's joint Masters in History and Archivist's Certificate program, now the Archives/ Public History Program.

In December 2009, Jason joined the Veterans History Project at the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress as a Liaison Specialist. The Congressionally mandated project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans.  To learn more about the collections, visit the Veterans History Project homepage.

Prior to moving to Washington, D.C., Jason worked in the New York museum and archives world for nearly eight years. He began his career as an assistant curator at the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, then started his own independent museum and archives consulting practice. Past projects include the award-winning exhibition  "Ours to Fight For: American Jews in the Second World War" (Museum of Jewish Heritage); the critically-acclaimed exhibition "Lincoln and New York" (New-York Historical Society); and archival projects for the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame, Yeshiva University, and Museo Judio de Sosua in Sosua, Dominican Republic.  He has delivered many lectures at conferences and meetings in connection with his work, and has been interviewed for several publications and media outlets.

Outside of his public history work, Jason fronts the indie rock band Studio E. The band's debut CD is available worldwide on iTunes and Amazon.

He is originally from White Plains, New York, and received a B.A. in American Studies from The George Washington University. More information can be found on Jason's Personal Website.




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