Oral History Question Cards

Stack of printed oral history question cards

These question cards feature suggested topics and prompts to guide you through a simple oral history interview. We created them for our Archivist in a Backpack kits.

Download a printable version:

You can print multiple question cards on one piece of paper and cut them apart to use them for your next interview.

Question List

  • Describe the neighborhood or community you grew up in.
  • How would you describe your personality?
  • What music do you like? How does music influence your life? Do you have a favorite song?
  • Do you have stories about how your family survived the great depression?
  • How did your family celebrate holidays? Any favorite memories?
  • Do you have hobbies or play sports?
  • Have you experienced or observed prejudice or racism during your life?
  • Did any of your family serve in the military? Who and what conflicts?
  • What stories have been passed down in your family?
  • Do you have siblings? What are their names? Tell me about them.
  • Who is the earliest ancestor you know about? Where and when did they live?
  • Who had the greatest influence on you as a child or as an adult?
  • What would you say are the greatest challenges you’ve faced in your life?
  • What were you like growing up? What were your interests? Who were your friends?
  • What are your memories of events such as segregation, the civil rights movement, or wars?
  • How has the world changed since you were young? How has your profession or community changed?
  • Have you been married? Tell me about how you met your partner.
  • What has provided you with the most satisfaction in life? What are you most proud of?
  • Tell me about your children / grandchildren. What family traditions do you have?
  • What was your first job? How did your career or job skills change over the years?
  • What was school like for you? Who was your favorite teacher? Which classes did you like?
  • Tell me about your parents. Where are they from and what do/did they do for a living?
  • What historic events (marches, protests, performances, etc.) have you experienced?
  • What has been the role of religion throughout your life?
  • What is your full name, and where and when were you born?