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Minnesota has an amazing collection of oral-visual history interviews with deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing advocates. These advocates shared their personal life experiences as part of Minnesota's deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing communities. Their stories cover a wide range of experiences both funny and serious. They discuss their history with advocating for communication access and equal opportunity in Minnesota. While all advocates have a diverse range of personal experiences, communication preferences and cultures, you'll be surprised by how many of the advocacy stories are connected! The contributions that these advocates have made has led to a better, more accessible Minnesota.

The oral-visual histories and supporting documentation (dated 1996-2011) were accessioned into the Minnesota Historical Society archives in July 2017. The paper records include transcripts, background information on interviewees, correspondence, grant-related records, and project documentation. The State Archives will serve as a "dark archive" for the digital files which include videos, captions, and final transcripts.

All videos are made accessible through American Sign Language (ASL), captioning, voiceover, and descriptive transcripts. The transcripts also include interview and translation notes with additional information and corrections.

Special thanks to the following organizations and individuals who produced and contributed valuable historical materials for this project. 

  • Minnesota Historical Society
  • Barb Sommer (nationally recognized oral historian)
  • Minnesota Department of Human Services Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division (DHHSD)
  • Digiterp Communications
  • Minnesota Association of Deaf Citizens (MADC)
  • Minnesota Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (MRID)
  • St. Paul Neighborhood Network
  • ZenMation

This project was made possible by Legacy funding granted to MNCDHH from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, established though the vote of Minnesotans on November 4, 2008 and administered by the Minnesota Historical Society.

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