Students in Ted Jordan’s American history class at Cape Elizabeth High School will become historians this February when they participate in a Portland Harbor Museum project compiling the oral histories of shipyard workers during World War II.

“Years from now I don’t know how much they’ll remember from my lessons but they’ll remember this for a long time,” said Jordan.

The museum, which recently received a $41,000 grant from the Partnership for a Nation of Learners, said they’re excited about working with the students. Curator Hadley Schmoyer said she hopes the students “will come away with a sense of respect for people who worked in the shipyard.” She also said the museum anticipates a continued partnership with Cape High School. “We hope to have them continue doing oral histories, whether it’s for liberty ship workers or maybe contemporary people who work on the harbor.”

Stephanie Philbrick and Claire Holman of WMPG radio will train students in interviewing techniques and the students will travel around Greater Portland in pairs conducting interviews with the former shipyard workers.

“In February I’ll probably be at the Great Depression, but I’ll work a little bit harder to get these guys to WWII,” said Jordan.

Right now the museum is still seeking interview candidates.

“We’re looking for home-front veterans who felt the impact of the shipyard,” said Mark Thompson, the museum’s executive director. Schmoyer and Thompson plan to interview 35 workers, possibly more, and have nearly 20 already lined up.


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