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Warhawk Air Museum preserving 1,500 interviews with veterans

The interviews are saved on DVD as part of the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. Converting these interviews into digital files costs thousands.

NAMPA, Idaho — Interviews, some 15 years old, are filed away alphabetically in a red safe tucked away in an innocuous corner of Nampa's Warhawk Air Museum.

The Iraq War, Persian Gulf, Vietnam, Korea, World War II - they're all filed away somewhere in the collection. The museum started interviewing veterans more than a decade ago as part of the Library of Congress Veterans History Project; an effort to preserve the stories of those who served.

The museum has 1,500 interviews to date.

"I've had families come up to me so emotional, because they had never heard their grandfather or grandmother tell a story and yet they could sit on film after they were gone," Museum Executive Director Sue Paul said. "So, the personal part of that for families is incredible."

The museum is working to convert the DVDs into digital files; the Canyon County Historical Society is funding the project, in part, through a $24,000 grant. The grant has a deadline ending this fall, according to Paul.

The museum should be able to digitize up to 500 interviews by the upcoming date.

"This is the beginning for us," Paul said. "These are definitely veterans who've never talked about it. And now we have their stories."

The museum has begun released the processed interviews on their website for the public the view freely. They will continue to release their interviews as more are processed, Paul said.

The museum plans to digitize all 1,500 interviews through additional grant applications and donations.

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