Oral History Project
Roller skating history includes the sport-- athletes, coaches, judges, parents, meet managers, organizers of regional, national, and world events. Roller skating history also includes rink operators, suppliers, members of the national organizations, social media stars, roller skaters from traditional media-- like television and film, journalists who covered roller skating through its surges of popularity, and more. Lastly, but equally important-- normal roller skaters-- people who go to their local rink every Adult Night, people who roller skate through their neighborhoods, people who practice on a local tennis court or in their garage, people who roller skate at skate parks; people of all ages, all races and ethnicities, sexual orientations, religions, of varying physical ability, poor and rich are roller skaters.
Bob LaBriola and skating partner Joan. LaBriola
The Oral History Project's goal is to interview the widest swath of roller skating backgrounds as possible to best serve the National Museum of Roller Skating's mission of collecting and preserving invaluable cultural information related to the past-time of roller skating. By doing this, the archive will be accessible to future researchers.
The National Museum of Roller Skating was fortunate to receive a $10,000 grant from Humanities Nebraska. Most of it has been used to record oral histories of individuals who have been deeply involved with roller skating in the many aspects of our sport, business, and industry. To date the following individuals have participated (A few have agreed to be interviewed but not yet scheduled).
Don Allen, Annelle Anderson, Bob Anderson, Efforest “Buggy” Allmond, Jim Ball, Stephen Carter, Gary Castro, Scott Cohen, Dominic Cangelosi, Scott Cohen, Natalie Dunn-Fries, Pat Ferguson, George Grudza, Marie Gaudy, Sylvia Haffke, Charlie Kirchner, Bob Labriola, Ziggy Marszalek, Caroline Mirelli, Jim McMahon, John McNeel, Ron Miner, Joe Nazzaro Jr., Keith Noll, Jeff Prime, Wayne Ramsey, Scott Riegelman, Jennifer Rodriguez, Dickie Sisson, Olga Soto, Bo Trotter, Carlesa Williams, Connie Wahlig, Peggy Young,
The grant was completely used in November, and we are now funding the project from donations totaling $3,000, to be depleted at the end of this month. As you can see, we have only scratched the surface of individuals and families who have contributed so much to skating.
For this reason, we are asking for your financial support to continue this project. All donations, no matter the size, will be appreciated.
Access to these records will be given for any donation of $50 or more.
A donation of $1,000 or more will entitle you to submit an individual with a skating background to be interviewed (subject to committee review).
Not only does this project preserve the history of roller skating, but it also provides a lasting record of the involvement of the person being interviewed, in their own words. It is something that future generations can listen to and feel a close connection to their family members. We think it would be a lasting gift to your loved ones, or your own record for current and future generations.
The Oral History Project was created by Amy Richardson, past Museum Archivist. Amy has a unique background with a Master's degree in Folklore from Memorial University of Newfoundland. Folklore as a discipline revolves around interviewing folk groups of varying sizes, locations, and backgrounds to collect cultural information to better understand group dynamics, specific cultural customs or behaviours, and more. Folklore is not about upholding hierarchical structures, but investigating the subjective, the informal, and the creative traditions that are passed along on a large and small scale. Folklore, like any field with human subjects, attempts to ethically and compassionately serve the people that are interviewed, surveyed, and otherwise engaged with during research.
During graduate school, Amy did a two-week intensive field school that revolved around learning about interviewing, interviewing locals, processing interviews, writing a paper, and presenting the paper to the community. Throughout graduate school she learned the ins and outs of ethical research and engagement with human subjects. She has an abundance of experience interviewing individuals for classes and for her Master's thesis. She had to gain certification from an ethics review in order to start her thesis research and maintained it throughout the entirety of the project. Amy's background at the National Museum of Roller Skating equips her with a strong knowledge of the history of roller skating.