The Queens Memory Project is a digital archive which aims to record and preserve contemporary history across the New York City borough of Queens. The project is a collaborative effort between Queens College and Queens Public Library that was initially funded through a grant from the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO). Materials in the archive are made accessible to the public through a website which contains oral history interviews and photographs documenting the lives of Queens residents. The stories and images are presented alongside digitized historical photographs, maps, news clippings and other archival records. The goal of the project is to allow visitors to the site to view otherwise scattered archival materials and personal stories in a searchable database of collective memory representing the borough of Queens.
The archive began in June 2010 as an independent study for project director and archivist Natalie Milbrodt, then a Special Collections and Archives Fellow in the Queens College Libraries and a master's degree candidate in the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies. Focusing on the neighborhood of Flushing, Milbrodt conducted oral history interviews with 20 residents in the Waldheim neighborhood, a small area less than a mile from downtown Flushing. A grant from the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO) enabled her to establish collaboration with Queens Library to combine archival materials from their holdings relevant to Queens history with those of Queens College. The website for the Queens Memory Project was later developed by software firm Whirl-i-Gig and officially launched to the public on October 27, 2011. The site combines digital audio of the project interviews with images and other digital content from the collections. Development of the Queens Memory Project since 2011 has focused on expanded documentation across the borough of Queens, collaboration with educators, scholars, artists, and community groups. Future development will incorporate Web 2.0 technology to allow direct user contributions.
The collection contains over 500 individual oral history interviews from residents of Queens. The recordings are in digital WAV format. Many of these interviews are available online with transcriptions.
Wild Sound recordings are audio recordings that document events and public places in Queens. The recordings are in digital WAV format.
Digital photographs of Queens residents and events are included in the project as well as digitized historical images from the contributing archival collections. Digital images are stored in TIFF format.
Other items in the Queens Memory Project archive include digitized maps, news clippings, and other ephemera. Digital images are stored in TIFF format.