Kentucky Oral History Commission

From tenant farmers and lay midwives to political leaders and nationally acclaimed authors, the Kentucky Oral History Commission (KOHC), administered by Kentucky Historical Society, reaches across the state to record and preserve the diverse stories that are a part of Kentucky’s rich and colorful history. Nationally, KOHC is the only state commission committed to statewide oral history documentation through granting programs and outreach. Since 1976 KOHC has:

  • Awarded more than $1 million 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 10,000 interviews, one of the largest in the United States, at the Kentucky Historical Society.

Oral History Grants

The Kentucky Oral History Commission grant program offers monetary, equipment and training grants to assist amateur or professional oral historians with oral history research projects on topics of particular significance to Kentucky. These grants encourage statewide participation in the collection and preservation of historically valuable interviews.

KOHC also offers accreditation for archives that want to be permanent repositories for oral history collections which KOHC sponsors through grant awarded funds and resources.

KOHC Project Grant

Project grants support the creation of Kentucky oral history research projects. All projects must comply with the Oral History Association’s Principles and Best Standards.

Download the grant application

KOHC Transcription and Indexing Grant

Transcription and indexing grants support the transcription or indexing of existing oral history interviews whose subject matter the KOHC considers to be a priority research topic and which are located in Kentucky repositories. Priority for indexing grants goes to organizations which use an indexing-based access platform, such as the OHMS system.

Download the grant application

KOHC Preservation Grant

Preservation grants provide funding to outsource digital preservation work for a collection at risk of information loss or irreversible deterioration.

Download the grant application

Technical Assistance and Preservation Assistance Grants

Two KOHC grants are not cash-based, but they provide equipment and/or training. Applications for these grants may be submitted at any time and will be acted upon within 30 days of submission.

Technical Assistance Grant

Technical assistance grants provide audio recording equipment, recording media and applicant training for local and community oral history projects by individuals or organizations. Download the grant application.

Preservation Assistance Grant

Preservation assistance grants provide equipment for digital migration of specifically identified oral history collections and training in preservation standards and equipment use. Download the grant application (PDF).

KOHC Archival Accreditation

Archives that want to be permanent repositories for oral history collections which KOHC sponsors through grant awarded funds and resources should receive KOHC Archival Accreditation. The process, which includes a series of standards, allows KOHC to be responsible stewards of the state resources for oral history documentation and to maintain support for Kentucky repositories which continue to grow and manage their oral history collections in a responsible manner. Download guidelines and an application (Word).

KOHC Quick Facts (PDF)

Grant Recipients

For a full list of recent grant recipients, click here.

To check out Oral History Resources, click here.