Precious Places Community History Project 2018

What is the history of your neighborhood? Scribe Video Center is seeking members of neighborhood groups to participate in 2018 Precious Places Community History porject.  We welcome all histories and all stories, but in 2018 we will have a special focus on stories and spaces in communities that have some relationship to public transit.

Each group will plan, shoot, and edit a video about their “precious place” with the help of a filmmaker and a research scholar hired by Scribe.  While these facilitators will work closely with participants throughout the course of production, the work itself—the planning, writing, and filming—will be done by members of the community groups. 

This program is free for organizations in Philadelphia, Camden and adjoining counties. No prior experience in filmmaking is required. 


The Roots Of The Project

The Precious Places Community History Project is a community oral history project inviting members of the Philadelphia region's many neighborhoods to document the buildings, public spaces, parks, landmarks and other sites that hold the memories of our communities and define where we live. Precious Places teaches the video production process to participating groups, fostering projects authored by those who intimately know the featured neighborhoods.

Conceived as a way to allow neighborhood groups to celebrate their unique histories and as a tool to address cuurent day corncerns, the Precious Places video documentaries explore the rich stories of our communities, the memories and stories held in public spaces and community landmarks. They record community histories  and help define where we live at a time when so many of the city's memories are undergoing so much change.

Through more than three decades of work with individuals and groups, Scribe Video Center has taught the craft of documentary video production. We have guided first time film makers in creating works that help bring visions to life. We know that many more stories are out there just waiting to be told. And we share with others who are concerned about the disinterest, deterioration, gentrification, unfamiliarity and even misinformation that endanger so much of the region. Community oral history is an ideal way to share the stories of these "precious places." to celebrate them and the people who cherish them.

The Process

Neighborhood groups collaborate with humanities consultants and experienced filmmakers to document their neighborhoods. These facilitators provide training in oral history and documentary production, but it is the community group members themselves who plan, research, and produce their films. Each group spends an entire day shooting footage in the neighborhood, conducting interviews and documenting important sites and events. After editing their videos, groups publicly screen their work at major Philadelphia venues such as the Kimmel Center and the International House, as well as screening as part of Street Movies and other Scribe programs. The Precious Places series have all been broadcast on WHYY-TV-12 and PhillyCAM.

Producing a documentary video is a chance to honor and give voice to local experience, knowledge, and expertise; to become the author, not just the subject, of your neighborhood’s history. Community groups learn the skill of producing oral histories to uncover the rich stories that make up our past. Finally, the project is a valuable opportunity to make us aware of our diverse neighborhoods and the development policies that often render certain ‘precious places’ out of existence.

Watch Precious Places on PhillyCAM
Comcast Cable 66/966HD967, Verizon Fios 29/30
Sundays at noon and repeats on Mondays at 7:00 pm



    Order The Precious Places Community History Project Now On DVD!

    The complete series seen on WHYY TV 12 is available for purchase.


    Scribe Video Center has collaborated with dozens of community groups in Philadelphia, Camden, Chester, Coatesville, and Ardmore to produce 79 neighborhood histories. With Precious Places the community members themselves create their own videos about the people and places that make our city unique.

    Precious Places Community History Project Vol. 1 Produced in 2004-2007

    Precious Places Community History Project Vol. 2 Produced in 2004-2007

    Precious Places Community History Project Vol. 3 Produced in 2004-2007

    Precious Places Community History Project Vol. 4 Produced in 2008-2009

    Precious Places Community History Project Vol. 5 Produced in 2009-2010

    Precious Places Community History Project Vol. 6 Produced in 2010-2011

    Precious Places Community History Project Vol. 7 Produced in 2015-2016