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People of the Sturgeon oral histories added to NOAA collection

Recordings collected for the Wisconsin Sea Grant book, “People of the Sturgeon: Wisconsin’s Love Affair with an Ancient Fish,” were recently added to a national archive by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA Fisheries’ “Voices Oral History Archives” seeks to document the human experience as it relates to the changing environment, climate, oceans and coasts through firsthand oral history accounts.

A sturgeon in the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. Image credit: Brenna Hernandez, Shedd Aquarium.

Wisconsin Sea Grant’s Senior Special Librarian Anne Moser, who curated the 73 sturgeon interviews, is excited by this recognition of the collection’s significance. “It is great to see our materials being featured on the national level. Having the collection included in NOAA Fisheries’ archive is acknowledgement of its scientific and cultural value for scholars, students and the public.”

Follow this link to access the NOAA Voices oral histories.

“People of the Sturgeon” was written by Wisconsin Sea Grant staff members, Kathleen Kline and Fred Binkowski with help from Ronald Bruch. It was published in 2009 by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press and has captured a dozen state, regional, and national prizes. The oral histories are courtesy of the Oshkosh Public Museum.

For the book, which is about the culture surrounding sturgeon spearing on Lake Winnebago, the authors interviewed 69 community activists, sturgeon spearing enthusiasts, spear and decoy craftsmen and scientific researchers.

The recordings are also housed in a permanent collection at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries’ Digital Collections and they are available for free download. Excerpts are featured on this Wisconsin Water News podcast.