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StoryCorps mobile booth arrives at MICA to collect stories of ordinary Baltimoreans

StoryCorps' mobile booth is stationed at MICA until June 17. (Algerina Perna/Baltimore Sun video)

You have no idea how interesting you are. But here's your chance to find out.

For four weeks, the big silver trailer with "StoryCorps" painted on the side will be parked outside the Maryland Institute College of Art, ready to record what you — and someone you love — have to say to each other.

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Baltimore radio station WYPR 88.1 FM is sponsoring the mobile recording booth, which arrived at MICA on Thursday, to make sure that people who live and work in Charm City are part of the mix of oral histories that will become part of the archives of the Library of Congress.

"StoryCorps distills what we do in public radio down to its core," Andy Bienstock, WYPR's vice president and program director, said at Thursday's opening ceremony. He added that the project gathers "a record of people's lives in the 20th and 21st centuries just through conversation."

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So far, more than 65,000 interviews have been collected in all 50 states in the 13 years since award-winning documentary producer David Isay founded by StoryCorps.

Facilitators guide participants through 40-minute interviews, and then provide them with a copy of the recording on CD. Not only will StoryCorps be collecting 150 interviews with local residents, but a portion will be broadcast on WYPR.

On the first day of the project, Loyola University's Karsonya Wise Whitehead recorded a conversation with her teenage son.

"It was very emotional," said Whitehead, an associate professor in the department of communications.

"I started getting really choked up realizing that perhaps one day this interview will be shared with his kids and my grandkids. It was hard for me to share parts of myself, things about me that he never knew before. I'm hoping he'll love me despite my flaws."

Kofi Whitehead, a ninth-grade student Gilman School, said he was moved by the experience.

"Just to hear all the feelings she had," he said, "was kind of raw."

Potential participants can schedule a recording session by calling 1-800-850-4406 or visiting storycorps.org. The StoryCorps trailer will be in Baltimore until June 17.

mary.mccauley@baltsun.com

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