A woman with strawberry blonde hair wearing a red floral based shirt.
Virginia Millington, Director of Recording & Archive

About Me

I’ve worked in libraries, museums, and nonprofit organizations for over fifteen years and have been a New Yorker since 2008. When I’m not at StoryCorps, I’m usually spending time exploring with my son. 

What is your position at StoryCorps and how long have you been with the organization?

My role is Director of Recording and Archive and I’ve been at StoryCorps for 12 years.

What does your job entail?

My job is to lead an expert team of archivists and recording technicians, who ensure, on a daily basis, that StoryCorps interviews are recorded using the highest standards while also making them as accessible as possible to a wide variety of audiences, including participants, partners, and more. Our team is also responsible for recording and training dozens of facilitators, looking into new technologies for recording interviews, and collaborating with our digital team to make sure that our work is responsive to the needs of our users, forward-thinking, and consistent with best practices in the field.

How has technology shaped the archive?

The launch of the StoryCorps App in 2015 involved figuring out how to apply our rigorous StoryCorps recording model to a format that would make it possible for anyone with a smartphone or tablet to record a StoryCorps interview. We worked very closely with our digital team on this shift to a more scalable, expansive model that preserved the intent of our approach to recording interviews.

With the app, the scale and scope of our collection expanded, but it was important for us to maintain the archival goals and quality of the recordings. This was something we accomplished through deep collaboration with the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, and through an iterative process of building the StoryCorps App in a collaborative, open-ended way. 

What are some rewards of your job?

StoryCorps employs some of the most passionate, engaged, and thoughtful people, and it’s a privilege to be a part of a rapidly evolving institution that nonetheless values consensus and inclusion. I also feel honored to be able to interact with the thousands of stories within our archive on a daily basis; the scope of the collection reflects generational wisdom, vernacular history, and a series of relational conversations that are moving individually and collectively very powerful. 

I’m especially proud of the interviews that have been recorded virtually during the pandemic, as they represent the myriad ways in which StoryCorps adapted its own recording model to meet the needs of the people who sought to record interviews with loved ones during times of isolation and social distancing. You can find a set of these interviews here

What is your favorite StoryCorps story?

My favorite collection or story is usually related to a theme that’s universal, like Sundays at Rocco’s, which is about a family on New York’s Lower East Side, who are affected in serious and long-reaching ways by the changing landscape of New York City. The story is poignant and reflective, but doesn’t necessarily end in a heartwarming way. It shows the fragility and complexity of the human experience and is a unique New York story that resonates outside of its specific locale. 

Why do you think everyone should record a story with StoryCorps?

I can say this from first-hand experience, but our facilitators always show the utmost care, respect, and honor when they are working with two people to record their interview. And the StoryCorps App and StoryCorps Connect, our virtual platforms, expand that experience to be more accessible while still maintaining a framework of care and trust. I think everyone should have the experience of recording a StoryCorps interview in order to have the experience of learning more about a loved one, but also knowing that your interview will be preserved, not only by the recording & archive team at StoryCorps, but by our partners at the Library of Congress. 

What are ways you’d suggest to search the Archive?

-Search the Archive by our initiatives, which are collections of interviews that celebrate specific groups of people. You can check out the Griot Collection, the OutLoud Collection, our One Small Step Collection, and more.

-Check out our featured partnerships, which include Hear Me Now, a collaboration with the Providence Institute for Human Caring and Voices of Freedom, a collaboration with the Office on Trafficking in Persons.

-Download “Activities for Exploring the StoryCorps Archive”, a fun, interactive way to learn more about the StoryCorps interview collection. 

-Watch a panel presentation on the Military Voices Initiative and the Veterans’ History Project, hosted at the Library of Congress.