For the last decade, our Airstream trailer, outfitted with a recording studio, has been partnering with local public radio stations across the country to give people in local communities the chance to record an interview with a loved one that will be archived for future generations in the Library of Congress.
The tour, which began in May 2005 and shows no signs of slowing down, has already visited over 200 cities and traveled over 80,000 miles.
Where We Go
Our Mobile staff considers several key factors before choosing a location for our MobileBooth to visit:
While all recordings for our Mobile Tour take place inside our MobileBooth, complications in weather can make it difficult for visitors to reach us. In addition to weather complications, the MobileBooth can only reach temperatures inside of 20 degrees above or below the outdoor temperature, making warmer climates ideal.
StoryCorps’ mission is to provide people of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of their lives. When deciding where to travel, our Mobile team takes diversity into account.
3. Past Visits
Over a 10-year span, our MobileBooth has traveled all over the continental United States (and Hawaii). Some cities we return to, although usually at least three to five years after the initial visit. Regional diversity is also important to us. Although we’ve made visits to major cities such as NYC and L.A., we’ve also visited smaller cities such as our recent stop in Vernal, Utah.
Partners for our Mobile Tour include local public radio stations, community-based organizations, and cultural institutions. Overall, we choose a location that is iconic, comfortable, and accessible to all members of the community. Finding a spot large enough to park an Airstream trailer can be difficult so we work with our local partners to locate a great temporary home for the MobileBooth.
Participant accessibility is very important. The MobileBooth is equipped with a wheelchair lift but does not have a bathroom so we make sure that all our stops are in close proximity to bathrooms. Participants are also able to record their interview in any language they wish.
For one or two days of each stop, our interviews are conducted at a field location. This makes it easier for some participants to reach us. We work hard to maintain a StoryCorps feel at each field location and provide the same experience a participant would receive recording in the MobileBooth.
Some Questions Our Mobile Facilitators Are Asked…
Where Do the Facilitators Sleep?
Yes, we know this might sound like a wacky question, but we get it all the time. No, our facilitators do not sleep in the MobileBooth. Accommodations are handled by local partners ensuring that our staff have a comfortable place to stay when they are not recording amazing interviews.
Did Obama Record in the Airstream Trailer?
President Barack Obama and Noah McQueen recorded an interview with StoryCorps earlier this year. The interview was recorded in the White House, although many people guess that the MobileBooth was the actual location.
2016 Mobile Tour Announced
Here are a few of the stops and partnerships scheduled for next year’s MobileBooth Tour. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for additional locations and updates on when and how to register to record your story:
Las Cruces, New Mexico (in partnership with KRWG)
San Antonio, Texas (in partnership with Texas Public Radio)
Nashville, Tennessee (in partnership with Nashville Public Radio-WPLN)
Washington, DC (in partnership with WAMU)
Baltimore, Maryland (in partnership with WYPR)
Providence, Rhode Island (in partnership with Rhode Island Public Radio)
Colchester, Vermont (in partnership with Vermont Public Radio)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (in partnership with WESA)
Columbia, South Carolina (in partnership with South Carolina Public Radio)