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The Allen County Museum has a variety of oral history recordings within its collection. The oral history collection includes approximately 20 unique conversations with Allen County area natives, including monthly programs at the museum. Covering a wide range of topics, the collection displays the stories and memories of Lima and Allen County in years past. 

Oral histories have been recorded starting in 1977 on audio cassettes and videotapes. Videotapes have been converted into digital recordings as seen on this page.

Oral histories continue to be collected. If you are interested in sharing your story, contact Charles Bates at or at 419-222-9426. 

Topics Include:

  • Railroading and Lima Locomotive Works

  • Work at area institutions, including Superior Coach and Westinghouse

  • Veteran and wartime stories

  • Growing up in Lima in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s

  • The Black community in Lima and Allen County 

  • Allen County Museum


Oral histories offer greater insight into historical events through personal memories and perspectives. As first hand accounts, the language and terminology used in oral histories reflect the narrators' beliefs, culture, and personal understanding and biases.


The museum is still working to verify stories as well as research them to provide historical context.
If you are interested volunteering to assist in researching for our oral history program, please contact Brittany Venturella, Director of Curatorial Affairs, at 

Personal Stories

Scott Trostel, 2021

  • John H. Keller and Railroad Archives

  • Allen County Museum community in the 20th century

  • Personal experience with railroad preservation and history

View Index

Bill Miller, 2021

  • Commercial photography

  • Area businesses

  • Experiences as a photography business owner

View Index

Growing Up in Lima

Dr. Emmett C. Murray, Jr., 2003

  • Growing up in Lima

  • Childhood experiences

View Index

"Octogenarians," 2000


Panel: Walter White, Dorothy Black, Judge Robert Light, Mary Porter, Joe Dunlap, Robert L. Townsend Jr., Helen Mack

  • Growing up in Lima 

  • ​Lima culture and significant locations

View Index

More oral histories are coming soon! 


To view an index for an interview, click on the text of the interview you are interested in. To listen to recordings, contact Charles Bates, Curator of Railroads and Transportation, at