Can oral storytelling can be relevant and be considered for public education and interpretation?
In 2016 and 2017 the Hmong Museum will seek an answer with their year-long storytelling series, Hmong Chronicles. The Museum will partner up with local Twin Cities Hmong artists–young and old, writers and oral storytellers–on a series of four events to share and document oral storytelling in the community. The Museum’s hope is to share and preserve Hmong oral storytelling, a tradition beloved by the older Hmong community but often overlooked in the U.S. as educational emphasis is placed on the written language.
“Hmong Chronicles is a collaborative mix that really highlights the beautiful Hmong storytelling art form. We’re excited about the artistic possibilities of this program and can’t wait to bring it to the community,” said Mai Vang, Founder and Board Chair of the Hmong Museum. Each free event will be held in a public space in order to reach the maximum number of attendees: young people, parents, elders, and those who may have difficulty taking time away from full-time jobs. Each event will also feature an intergenerational pair of artists, a Hmong elder and a contemporary Hmong-American writer, which promises to be an engaging collaboration between modern and traditional forms. Those not able to attend the Hmong Chronicles series will have the opportunity to see the events in the videos that will be published in 2018.
“We’ve recruited knowledgeable Hmong elders and are in contact with Hmong-American writers to begin this series,” Mai Vang said. In addition to the Knight Arts Challenge proposal, the Museum has applied for and hopes to receive funding to conduct research on interpretive value of oral storytelling in museum spaces. They are also trying to secure funding to pay for a Hmong Chronicles series videographer and to pay each storyteller a stipend.
If you are interested in volunteering for the events, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.