New Hampshire Folklife Logo
New Hampshire Folklife - an official New Hampshire Government website
Smaller text size Reset text size Larger text size
link to website translation page

Heritage Arts Build-A-Picture – Teacher's
Interviewing a Family or Community Member
A Plan for Kids Grades 5 & Up

Think about a traditional art form or traditional way of doing things that interests you. Ask around to see who has experience with that tradition.

Decide how you want to document the interview

Choices are:

  • Take notes – This is the easiest way to document your interview. Be sure to take along a notebook and pen or pencil.
  • Make an audio recording or video/digital movie – Talk to your teacher about what type of equipment to use.
  • Take photographs – Talk to your teacher about what type of equipment to use.

Arrange a time to meet with the person you want to interview. Plan a visit that takes no longer than an hour or so. If you want to learn more about the tradition, make arrangements for a second visit. Be sure to tell the person if are planning to make a recording or take photographs and ask them if that is fine with them.

Develop a list of questions before you go on the interview. You can develop this list with the help of your teacher. It is always good to start with some personal history:

  • the date and place the person was born
  • where the person grew up
  • where they have lived, etc.

Then the interview can move on to asking

  • how the person learned the tradition
  • how long he or she has done it
  • what kinds of materials he or she uses
  • what the future of the tradition is, etc.

As you ask the person questions, keep in mind that you are doing an interview and they are sharing their thoughts with you. Listen more than talk!

If you plan to take photographs, think about the different things you may want to take pictures of. You may want to take a portrait of the person, some pictures of them working on their craft, playing music or doing something related to their tradition.

After the interview, ask the person to sign a "Release Form" pdf filethat says you have permission to put the pictures and recordings in your school or community collection.

After your visit send the person a thank you note.

Label all the notes and recordings you make and work with your teacher to store them in a place where they can be preserved.

Portable Document Format Symbol Portable Document Format (.pdf). Visit for a list of free .pdf readers for a variety of operating systems.

New Hampshire State Council on the Arts
19 Pillsbury Street - 1st Floor, Concord, NH 03301