The Yosemite Visitors Project

Information Sheet

The Yosemite Visitors Project is an oral history study developed by Sally Ann Ness, Professor of Anthropology at UC Riverside. The project is part of a larger interdisciplinary study of Yosemite visitor experience, supported in part by a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, that employs research methods drawn from both the social sciences and the humanities to better understand the meaning of the Yosemite landscape in American life.

The goals of the Yosemite Visitors Project are:

  1. To document the diversity of Visitor experiences in the Yosemite National Park landscape.
  2. To identify strategies Visitors employ to better understand the park landscape, and to create a sense of belonging in the Yosemite landscape, particularly during times of high visitation.
  3. To assess the broader cultural significance of the Yosemite landscape, particularly for its most committed Visitor populations.

The Yosemite Visitors Project selects as participants for its oral history interviews members of families who have visited the park for more than a single generation. Individuals who have an extensive and continuous practice of visiting the park for over a decade are also eligible to participate in the study. The study seeks to produce as many as 200 oral history interviews.

Oral history interviews are conducted on a volunteer basis at an agreed-upon location of the interviewee's choice. Interviews are voice recorded and typically last between one and two hours. Interviewees may receive copies of their interviews if they so desire. The completed interviews become part of the Yosemite Visitors Project database.

Future plans for the Yosemite Visitors Project include the development of a Yosemite Visitor Archive that would preserve both the voice recordings and edited interview transcriptions of the interviews. At present, funding needed to complete the editing and transcription phases of the archival project is not available. Should funding become available, interviewees will be offered the opportunity to participate in this subsequent phase as well.

For further information about the Yosemite Visitors Project, or to volunteer as a participant, please contact:

Sally Ann Ness, Principal Investigator
Tel.: (951) 827-6452