The Dornbirn City Archives for many years has animated senior citizens to tell a myriad of interesting stories and details in a pleasant coffee house atmosphere The City Archive documents these storytelling evenings and adds them to its “Archive of Oral History”.
As the first stage involved remembering and telling in a pleasant atmosphere. People were thus encouraged to actively participate and come to terms with their own history. That their memories were recorded, exhibited and archived there, and that the local media reported on them, was immensely important for us as initiators. Because in this way, the participants were able to experience that their personal history is an enrichment for society.
All activities in which “older people” worked together with “younger people” experienced an unexpectedly large response. The “communication at eye level” enabled the “older ones” to share their knowledge and experience, and thus their history, with the “younger ones”. The “younger ones” had the opportunity not only to learn about their own roots, but in turn, through their great interest, stimulated the “older ones” to become involved in the discussion. The younger generation not only uses the encyclopedia to a great extent, but is also very active as authors of various contributions.
The aim of these events is to allow not only prominent contemporary witnesses, but as many people as possible to have their say. Many people from Dornbirn never appear in front of a larger audience, although they can tell a vast amount of interesting stories and details. While attending, or listening to the interviews at a later point, new discussions and memories can be triggered – topics for another memory café.