For the record: StoryCorps hits the bricks

WE all have stories to tell, and now we can tell them while luxuriously ensconced in a shiny Airstream trailer, thanks to the American Folklife Center.

Like the Writers' Project of the Depression-era Works Progress Administration, StoryCorps is an effort to preserve momentous and mundane events in human history– though the direct testimony of the people who lived through them.

"I've got my notes," says Judy Mickelson, one of the 75 or so lucky Charlottesvillians who signed up before the slots were filled. "But I can't read them," she laughs as she and former Charlottesville City Councilor Kay Slaughter enter the shiny aluminum-skinned mobile studio.

StoryCorps arrived on Charlottesville's Downtown Mall on May 30 and will stay through June 13– part of a multi-year nationwide effort to collect about 250,000 interviews with everyday Americans.

Excerpts of those stories– 2,500 from New York City alone– air on National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" each Friday.

The specially outfitted Airstream trailer contains a load of audio equipment and a sound-proof double-doored studio with two microphones.

Would-be storytellers schedule a time and find a friend to interview them. A facilitator is on hand to help with the recordings. At the end of each 40-minute session, the storyteller leaves with a CD of the session, and a copy goes on its way to the Library of Congress, where hundreds of years from now it will provide a window into history.

Local sponsors of the project include NPR affiliates WMRA and WVTF.

A new airstream!

Matt Ozug, David Umansky, and Diane Taylor

Karen Dillon of WVTF listens in.

Zachary Barr and Matt Bingay

Randy Huwa and Tom DuVal

Brett Myers, Judy Mickelson, and Kay Slaughter

Monticello's director, Dan Jordan, and senior research historian, Cinder Stanton, tell tales.