Oral History WMT 4Keeping Memories Alive Across the Generations

Wimborne Model Town, an authentic replica of Wimborne in the 1950s, has been attracting and charming visitors for decades. Recently, as part of a fascinating Oral History Project, the Model Town played a different role, as a piece of social history, its diminutive buildings a tangible record of Wimborne’s past.

The Oral History Project brought different generations together to capture memories in an exploration of Wimborne’s heritage. During May and June eight children from Allenbourn School in Wimborne worked with staff from Dorset History Centre to learn how to conduct interviews and elicit reminiscences.

Six Wimborne residents, or former residents, were then interviewed at the Model Town, the children using the accurate models as an aide memoire to help jog memories, and encourage the interviewees to recall their past. The children showed understanding and respect for the interviewees and it was wonderful to see them grown in confidence and to hear the dialogue between generations.

The recorded interviews will be used by the Model Town to interpret the site in the future and will be added to the Dorset Sound Archive in Dorchester, which is available for all to enjoy.