Day 4: Our Americana | Hometown History
Our Americana is a podcast that explores unique small towns across America, and examines the stories that impact, cultivate, and challenge community.
In small towns and cities everywhere there exist museums that hold artifacts that represent a person or event that changed the world. The Hometown History podcast provides Historians an opportunity to share their knowledge of such artifacts, from museums you would probably have never heard about.
Our Americana: Gold River, British Columbia (Luna the Whale)
In 2001, the small town of Gold River was adopted by a baby orca. Over the next five years, Luna the Whale would both unite and spark debate amongst the previously segregated town. And he would put this isolated Vancouver Island community on the map and at the forefront of an even bigger conversation about what happens when conservation and humanity collide.
More episodes of note: Hometown Stories: Jen (West Palm Beach, Florida) | Longville, Minnesota (Bruno)
“What a wonderful and well executed concept for a podcast! I love finding stories about the extraordinary ordinary lives being lived all around us. And this show really nails that. The episode about Luna the orca whale was wonderfully edited and captured some very unique voices. I was drawn into this magical story and the town that it takes place in. Its something special when you find a story that can transport you in this way. Kudos to Josh Hallmark for working to dig into and amplify stories beyond the tiny towns they take place in.”
-How To Make A Memory
“I love the concept of this show, exploring small towns in America and sharing the lives of the residents with the listeners. As an Australian, living in Hong Kong, I find this show really fascinating as it is so far removed from my life. I like the voices of the hosts and also the music that they use really supports the style and genre of the show. The story about Luna the whale in Gold River BC is so compelling. It’s an emotional and uplifting story that I could really connect with as a listener. The connection between Luna and the members of the local community is truly extraordinary. I love the personal stories told by the different people, especially the story from the First Nation man about one of their leader who had passed away. A truly engaging and interesting podcast.”
-Hong Kong Confidential
“Such a unique and fun podcast, I can’t believe I didn’t hear about this podcast sooner! The beginning of a podcast is so important to keeping a listener listening – and Our Americana does a great job at hooking the listener. The episodes are so well created and the content couldn’t be any better.”
Hometown History: Wabash County Historical Museum – The Arch Light
In 1880 the tiny city of Wabash, Indiana became the very first electrically lighted city in the world. Join us on this episode as we speak to a historian about the events leading up this historical event!
More episodes of note: Fairmount Historical Museum – James Dean & Jim Davis | John Hubbard mid-1800s Serial Killer
“Hometown History is an engaging podcast that examines small town, local histories. These are topics that are as important as more known histories, and I’m so glad that this podcast exists. I wish I had this podcast back in my high school days when I thought history was dull!”
“Historical podcasts all focus on hot historical topics, big events, or popular stories, but Hometown History tells those lesser known stories about small towns and local lore. Focusing on the artifacts of small-town museums, their Wabash County Historical Museum tells the story of how Edison’s competitor installed an arc light on the local Courthouse. These stories would normally only be heard by those lucky enough to visit these small-town museums and are now available to all through Hometown History.”
-Friday Is Game Night
“Hometown history offers an insider’s perspective to their hometown, which can be useful to residents and visitors alike. With a charming background track and quality microphones, free of disruptions, a local historian from Wabash County describes the controversy behind a novel lighting solution, which originated in the county courthouse for the sake of marketing. Moving through the history of the courthouse, however, the story takes winds and turns that enrich the history of the town, such as old advertisements for the Bradley Brother’s seeping through paint and brick on the buildings. Thirty minutes may be a challenging length of time for an audio history, however, listeners seeking an unabridged and rich history within a podcast will likely not be turned off as a result. If attempting to reach a broader audience who may not be historically inclined, introducing segments within the narrative could be a useful strategy to help break through the seeming limitations of audio podcasts, though, I suspect that listeners like myself often enjoy audio over video.”