On Thursday, November 3, at 6:30 PM the Vermont Folklife Center will host a public
meeting at the Stockbridge Central School on VT Route 107 to brainstorm ideas for
documenting and sharing the personal and community stories of Hurricane Irene, its
aftermath, and the community response.
The purpose of this meeting is to bring together people from the White River Valley
who are interested in or who are already working on documentation projects about the
experience of Hurricane Irene. We envision this as an opportunity for community members
to draw inspiration from others by sharing their ideas, work and vision. Together we can
explore possibilities for collaboration — between towns, individuals, institutions and
As a public service the Vermont Folklife Center is available to partner with individuals and
community groups in the White River Valley to offer mentorship for people as they begin
projects of their own design.
Shortly after the hurricane we were contacted by a Stockbridge resident who was moved
to create a record for future generations of both the flood’s devastation and the acts of
heroism and community spirit that followed in its wake.
“At the Stockbridge Historical Society we only have one first-hand account of the legendary
1927 flood,” she told us. “One woman sat down and wrote about her experience as it
happened. It’s a remarkable story, but it’s only a small window into that time.”
“It’s the personal accounts that are going to make the Hurricane Irene experience come
alive and make it real as we move forward,” she said. Her thought was to begin capturing
these important stories on tape, but she wasn’t sure where to begin.
“We were glad she called,” notes VFC Executive Director, Brent Bjorkman. “Through
her contact and many others, we realized that we could offer our expertise in helping
communities initiate and execute locally-organized storytelling projects. In addition to
serving as a historical record, we strongly believe that these projects have the opportunity
to serve hard-hit communities in the present moment as they come together to rebuild.”
The Vermont Folklife Center has over 25 years of experience conducting and recording
interviews and then drawing on these materials to create media pieces that are shared with
a larger public audience. Stories take shape through radio broadcast, multimedia exhibits,
and such web-based media as audio slide shows or blog.
We routinely share these skills and expertise in schools around the state by partnering
with teachers, offering workshops, and mentoring student projects. This community
meeting is an important first step — an opportunity to find out what documentation work
is already underway, to hear about what stories need to be told, and to learn how we at the
Vermont Folklife Center can best help to facilitate projects as they unfold.
Everyone is welcome. We hope you will attend. For additional information contact
the Vermont Folklife Center by calling 802-388-4964 or e-mail Aylie Baker at