From tenant farmers and lay midwives to political leaders and nationally acclaimed authors, the Kentucky Oral History Commission (KOHC) reaches across the state to record and preserve the diverse stories that are a part of Kentucky’s rich and colorful history.Since 1976 the Kentucky Oral History Commission has:
- Awarded over $1,000,000 to more than 600 grants to individuals, colleges, universities and community organizations, resulting in the collection of more than 35,000 interviews located at repositories throughout the state.
- Established a collection of nearly 9,000 interviews, one of the largest in the United States, at the Kentucky Historical Society.
- Conducted a multi-year project to document the civil rights movement in Kentucky and to produce educational programs based on the oral history collection. More than 200 interviews have been collected and transcribed. The award winning project also produced eight radio programs, two performance pieces, and the documentary “Living the Story: The Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky“ which periodically broadcasts on Kentucky Educational Television. In 2005 the Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky online database was launched.
The Kentucky Oral History Commission is made up of 12 governor appointed members. The KOHC advisory board is made up of at least 10 KOHC appointed oral history advisers.
Current KOHC Members are:
Richard Taylor, Chair (Frankfort, KY)
Fred Joseph, Vice – Chair (Louisville, KY)
Chad Berry (Berea, KY)
Duane Bolin (Murray, KY)
John Hardin (Bowling Green, KY)
Sharon Kemper Hackworth (Shelbyville, KY)
Nathan Lynn (Paducah, KY)
Tom Meng (Lexington, KY)
Kim Lady Smith (Frankfort, KY)
Wayne Onkst, ex-officio (Commissioner, KY Dept. of Library and Archives)
Kent Whitworth, ex officio (Director, KY Historical Society)
Current KOHC Advisors:
Doug Boyd, Director of the UofK Nunn Center for Oral History, Lexington, KY
Lynn David, independent oral historian and folklorist, Maysville County
Arwen Donahue, independent oral historian, Carlisle, KY
John Klee, history professor, Maysville KCTCS, Maysville, KY
Tracy K’Meyer, history professor, co-chair of the Oral History Center at the UofL, Louisville, KY
Lynwood Montell, folklorist, author and lifetime adviser for the KOHC, Bowling Green, KY
Lil Press, former KOHC chair, co-founder of the Kentucky Women’s Network, Lexington, KY
Len Press, founder of Kentucky Educational Television, Lexington, KY
Michael Ann Williams, director of the Folks Studies and Anthropology Department, WKU, Bowling Green, KY
Jim Klotter, ex-officio (state historian)
Al Smith, ex-officio (KOHC co-founder)
Sarah Milligan, Oral History Administrator
A native Oklahoman, Milligan holds an M.A. in Folk Studies from Western Kentucky University and a B.A. in English and German from Oklahoma City University. Since 2007, Milligan has been the oral history administrator for the Kentucky Historical Society, which includes providing staff support to the Kentucky Oral History Commission. Her current responsibilities consist of managing the KOHC granting programs, leading oral history workshops statewide, as well as offering technical assistance to Kentucky oral history collection holders. Milligan also oversees the more than 9,000 oral history interviews in the KOHC archives at the Kentucky Historical Society. In 2012, she became part of the Library of Congress Digital Preservation Outreach Trainer Network. Before joining the KOHC, Milligan worked as a folklife specialist for the Kentucky Folklife Program, which included managing the growing network of Kentucky Community Scholars. Milligan is a member of the 2011 class of Developing History Leaders @ SHA.