Story Table

When a family is sitting around the kitchen table, they often tell stories about the past. Some of these histories are well-known, but others are very specific to a particular place and community. For many of us, the sharing of these oral histories is how we can make sense of our world, and begin to place ourselves in the context of history in a way that is meaningful and relevant. This is our Story Table, which takes us on a trip into the past to explore and remember the communities of Santa Monica as they used to be, in order to understand more fully what they are now. Many of the stories are sourced from oral histories on our Cultural Asset Map, and others come from the vast local history collections of the Santa Monica Public Library, the Quinn Research Center, and the Santa Monica History Museum, as well as the personal research of local public historians. One of our goals with this project is to inspire young people to become public historians themselves – to surface the unknown stories and underknown histories of people who are not always given a voice in history books, but nonetheless are key to how our present world is shaped. This is by no means meant to be a comprehensive history, but rather a starting point for future historians to be inspired to contribute the stories of their communities to a more multi-faceted understanding of people and place.