Energy Transitions Oral Histories Project

Participants from the 2019 Grandparents University class at WEI Participants from the 2019 Grandparents University class at the Wisconsin Energy Institute on the UW–Madison campus. Chelsea Mamott

We are in the middle of an energy transition toward cleaner sources of power and fuel. Partnering with the UW­–Madison Oral History Program, the Wisconsin Energy Institute encourages youth to record conversations with their grandparents, neighbors or friends to capture eyewitness accounts of these changes.

Why do an oral history on energy?

We often learn about history through secondary sources, such as textbooks or articles that summarize and analyze events. Oral history gives everyone a platform to share their experiences and accounts. We each are the expert of our own story. Oral history democratizes history, lifting up voices and experiences that might otherwise be forgotten. As the economics of energy change, and as people become increasingly aware of the real impacts of climate change, renewable energy projects are being built across Wisconsin and the world. By recording an oral history, you are capturing voices and experiences of this fast-changing time and creating a primary source for this moment in history.

Make your own oral history!

Learn how you can conduct your own oral history interview and share your stories to add your voice to this ongoing project by reading our activity guide

"The energy transitions oral history activity allowed us to connect with our family and learn in the process."

2019 Grandparents University participant

Listen to the stories

The following list includes processed interviews you can listen to online through the UW–Archives. Click on the link to access an interview’s audio and summary. Thanks to the participants from the 2019 Grandparents University Renewable Energy Studies Major and all others who choose to share their oral histories!

Contact us

Questions? Comments? Contact Wisconsin Energy Institute Outreach Coordinator, Allison Bender (agbender@wisc.edu) or UW–Madison Oral History Program head, Troy Reeves (troy.reeves@wisc.edu).