Skip to Main Content

Stories from Main Street

The Stories from Main Street project encourages people to embrace their history and uncover community stories. In 2011, we began collecting stories about life in small towns and rural communities across America, gathering audio, photos, text, and videos from everyday people. To date, thousands of Americans have participated in the program, and we have, in turn, shared their authentic, often unedited stories on social media, in podcasts, and in our traveling exhibitions.

The project incorporates students as well. Since 2012, we have engaged students in 25 states through our youth programs, including Coming Home and Stories: YES. Approximately 1,200 youth from small communities have researched topics important to their towns' histories, conducted interviews, collected photos and footage, and assembled their work into a final digital project. Consider bringing the Coming Home program to your hometown!

In 2016, we partnered with MuseWeb, a museum-technology conference and publishing group, to develop "Be Here: Main Street," a storytelling project in Minnesota that incorporated local storytellers, area government agencies, and local businesses. Since 2020, we've partnered with the Peale Center in Baltimore, an institution on the leading edge of technology and storytelling, to help archive and publish even more "Stories from Main Street" narratives from people like you.

Museum on Main Street storytelling platforms provide an opportunity for small and rural communities and their residents to share their thoughts, opinions, and anecdotes. However, the opinions and ideas expressed by individual storytellers’ may not necessarily be those maintained by the Smithsonian. Individual storytellers’ and their collaborators are solely responsible for the content of their narratives and stories. The Smithsonian reserves the right to remove content that violates copyright, trademark, or intellectual property, or promotes impersonation, unlawful conduct, harassment, or hate speech.

Featured Stories

Share Your Story

Be a Storyteller

Find out how to take part in Stories from Main Street.

Learn More

Collect Your Materials

Organizing your digital materials is an important step. We accept images, video, audio, and text files in a variety of formats.

Learn More

Submit Your Story

Before submitting your story, you will be asked to complete a brief registration form and email verification process.

Get Started

Need Help Getting Started?

Stories in your local community are like hidden treasures just waiting to be discovered and shared!

You can help bring the past to life by conducting an oral history interview with a family or community member and sharing it on this website.

Oral History Interview Guide