Capitol Hill Restoration Society

Researching Oral Histories – Community Forum

Posted on June 19th, 2021

Bernadette McMahon and Brian Kraft presentedVoices from our past – Researching oral histories of Capitol Hill Tuesday, June 22, 2021.

The Overbeck Oral History Project has interviewed more than 200 Capitol Hill residents about their lives and posted the interviews on its website.  Bernadette McMahon explained this vital resource and how the community can search these oral histories.  

Oral History Map screenshot

Brian Kraft makes the details of our history more accessible and readily understood by converting historical resources into data and then mapping them.  Each point on Brian’s new DC Oral History Map links to an oral history. Different point symbols are used to represent the locations of residences, schools, churches, and other sites. For more information on the use of this important resource – and a link to the site, itself – visit

Bernadette McMahon is a Project Manager at the Capitol Hill History Project. She and her husband raised two sons on Capitol Hill.  During her 50+ years in the neighborhood, she volunteered with St. Peter’s Church and school, Boy Scouts, and other community efforts, including past service on the CHRS board of directors. She now volunteers in the Capitol Hill Village office. She is retired from careers as a Food and Drug Administration chemist and, later, as a consulting data base developer.  

Brian D. Kraft, a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) specialist, is joining us for another CHRS meeting. He has been researching, writing, and speaking about DC history since 1997. He has a BS in computer science and a post-baccalaureate certificate in GIS, both from Pennsylvania State University. He is the creator of HistoryQuest DC; the DC Oral History map is his latest project. 

The talk was  preceded by a brief Membership Meeting at which the recent election results were presented.