After more than eight years in the region, StoryCorps will close its operations and recording booth in Chicago in September 2021.

StoryCorps has operated a booth and exhibition space at the Chicago Cultural Center since 2013. More than 7,500 people from the Chicago area have recorded more than 4,000 StoryCorps interviews or facilitated conversations. All StoryCorps conversations are archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

Since opening the booth, StoryCorps partnered with WBEZ to broadcast excerpts of interviews recorded in the region. Among the memorable stories shared with us include:

“It is a very specific cloud hanging over us. It just feels like we’re at pause.”
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On the Pressure of Living Undocumented

Irakere Picon was just two years old when his parents brought him to the United States from Mexico on a tourist visa. They never left.
Read the full transcript here.

“When I buy a new book, I don’t start reading the first page. I smell it.”
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Remembering the Start of a Lifelong Love of Books

Meet Alagappa Rammohan, who has amassed enough books over the course of his life to fill a small library (10,000, to be exact).
Read the full transcript here.

“We looked like a very scary situation coming in there. And we turned into a party people wanted to join.”
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A Visit to the ER Takes an Unexpected Turn

Keith Miller and Ellen Hughes remember when Keith helped Ellen’s son — and her — get the care they needed.
Read the full transcript here.

“I struggled with, maybe I should have stayed away.”
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Adopted Woman Finds Siblings, Family Secret

Lisa Bouler Daniels grew up knowing she was adopted; and as an adult, she began searching for her birth family. She located her biological brother: Benjamin Chambers.
Read the full transcript here.

Stories recorded in Chicago have also aired on Vocalo ( & WBEW-FM). Both WBEZ and Vocalo will continue to broadcast these stories through 2021.

Celebrating our time in Chicago

In the months ahead, StoryCorps will also host capstone listening events and present broadcasts honoring the people and stories of the region. Sign up to receive announcements for when these events will take place.

“Localized support is what makes our work possible, and we are tremendously grateful to the philanthropic community in Chicago, which has supported our work for the last eight years, as well as the community-based organizations who have partnered with us in making a meaningful and representative archive of stories from the region,” said StoryCorps CEO Robin Sparkman.

StoryCorps’ Chicago current philanthropic supporters include the Joyce Foundation, The Field Foundation of Illinois, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, and Illinois Humanities.

StoryCorps’ Chicago booth has focused on bringing in groups from under-represented communities to share and preserve their stories. Key community partners include The Sisterhood, ConTextos, READI Chicago, Affinity Community Services and the Chicago Housing Initiative.

Public appointments to record for the Chicago story collection will be available through June 30, 2021. Recordings will be conducted virtually by StoryCorps facilitators until local guidelines permit reopening of the StoryCorps booth in the Chicago Cultural Center. Reservations can be made at or by calling 1-800-850-4406.

More opportunities to record with StoryCorps
Founded in 2003, StoryCorps has given people of all backgrounds and beliefs, in thousands of towns and cities in all 50 states, the chance to record interviews about their lives. Recording opportunities in 2021 include:

  • The StoryCorps Mobile Tour, an Airstream trailer the organization has transformed into a traveling recording booth, crisscrosses the country year-round to gather the stories of people nationwide. The 2021 tour is announced here.
  • StoryCorps in Atlanta, housed at the Atlanta History Center.
  • The Military Voices Initiative, preserving voices of military veterans, service members and their families. 2021 tour is to be announced.
  • American Pathways, a two-year initiative to record, preserve, and share the stories and experiences of refugees, asylees, immigrants, and Muslims living in the United States.

To sign up to record for any of our initiatives or virtual recording days, visit or call 1-800-850-4406.