The Third Thirty

The Third Thirty is an oral history project that gathers and shares stories from South Sound elders. The purpose of the project is invite people between the ages 60 and 90 to reflect on a question or theme and to share a bit of their truth with our community. The stories are gathered by Thurston County residents – many who are also in their “third thirty” years of life –who enroll in an eight-week long project based course taught by WSM Curator, Elaine Vradenburgh. Participants learn the art and practice of oral history, build their listening and interviewing skills, and consider the ethical issues of gathering and sharing other peoples’ stories. Each participant interviews a community member, transcribes the interview in full, and then edits the transcript into a short, cohesive story. We share the stories (with permission from the person whose story it is) at a public reading and conversation hosted and facilitated by WSM, and they live on in the WSM archive.

If you are interested in participating, contact Elaine at

most recent story

August 20, 2020

"I can't imagine life without art, without music, without literature, without theater, without visual art, without dance. I cannot imagine a life like that. And the way in which it allows people to see other’s experiences and other’s way of seeing things, and the way it touches our hearts and our souls and our shared humanity."