Dorset History Centre supports and works with many groups and societies on projects which promote local history, or help preserve the memories and experiences of Dorset people. Recently we have worked with groups as diverse as Umoja Arts, Windrose Rural Media Trust and Bournemouth People First.

Oral history

If you, or your group, are planning to collect some oral history, please do contact us for an informal discussion. We can offer advice or training on oral history projects and help ensure that any recordings you make will be accessible for many years to come.

Some general tips on running an oral history project are:

  • ensure that participants are aware of how the recordings will be used in the future and have signed a declaration waiving copyright. Contact us if you need such forms
  • create a document detailing what is in each recording - ideally a full transcript, but at the very least a summary of the main topics discussed in each interview
  • record the details of the interview and the interviewee carefully
  • avoid obsolete or obscure technologies and format. It is best to record in a digital format. As far as possible stick to formats that can be run on most or all computers - ideally sound files in WAV, and video files in MPEG format

Community archives

If your group or organisation has its own archive, or is in the process of collecting material for an archive, we can offer advice on how to care for your collection, and how to make it more accessible.

You might like to consider specialist storage facilities and expert care from professional staff. Documents can be placed on long-term loan at Dorset History Centre, which means the collection is stored and cared for here, whilst you retain ownership and control of the reproduction rights. Our depositing documents page has more information.

Research projects

If you are interested in researching the history of your local area as a group project, we can provide advice and support, including group induction sessions on how to use the History Centre and the collections held here. Contact us to find out more about group sessions.

Fairs, displays and events

We can also support local events with a focus on history and heritage by providing display panels or information leaflets relating to the History Centre's collections and services.