About Us

Queens Memory is a community archiving program founded in 2010 and supported by Queens Public Library and Queens College, CUNY. We engage with Queens residents in our mission to both (1) make the public aware of our local history collections through programming and online resources, and (2) continually add new materials to our collections from the diverse communities of Queens. The goal is to raise awareness and a sense of ownership in the creation of our shared historic record, and our dream is that all Queens residents who visit these collections feel their experiences and perspectives are represented.

Queens Memory also provides training and materials for those wishing to contribute oral history interviews, photographs, or other records of their neighborhoods, families, and communities. These materials are shared with the public on a variety of platforms including Aviary, Urban Archive, our podcast series, Instagram, and in the archival repositories of Queens Public Library and Queens College’s Rosenthal Library. Queens Memory was founded in 2010 and has received numerous honors, including the 2014 Archivists Round Table Award for Educational Use of Archives and the 2019 New York State Archives’ Debra E. Bernhardt Annual Archives Award for Excellence in Documenting New York’s History.

Meet Our Team

Meral Agish
Meral Agish
Role: Interim Director

Joined the Queens Memory team in 2019

Queens neighborhood: Kew Gardens

My family first arrived in the States in the 1960s and ’70s and set down their American roots in Jackson Heights. My parents moved to Flushing after they got married, which is where I was born and raised. Now, I live in Kew Gardens, where I’m raising my daughter to be curious about the many people, neighborhoods and cultures of our home borough.

When I talk about the Queens Memory Project, I always emphasize how this collection is made up of people’s stories and that anyone with a connection to Queens can be a part of it. We all have a story to share, whether it’s through an interview or personal photos or other mementos. Each story that’s added to the collection enriches the historical record of Queens and deepens our understanding of our families, friends, neighbors and ourselves.

Lori DiBella Wallach
Lori DiBella Wallach
Role: Outreach Coordinator, Queens College

Joined the Queens Memory team in 2014

Queens neighborhood: Flushing

My connection with Flushing is Queens College — where I work, bringing Queens Memory to the students, faculty and staff of this diverse and vibrant community. I also spent several years here as a graduate student, earning my Master’s in Library Science. And of course, Flushing is home to my beloved New York Mets! 

I think Queens Memory is a valuable way to both capture the stories and perspectives of current Queens residents and to connect those stories with the past and future of the borough. Queens is a dynamic locale that has seen significant changes over the decades and will likely continue to evolve and transform. It’s important to preserve the first-hand accounts of the people experiencing these shifts to achieve the fullest understanding of history.
J. Faye Yuan
J. Faye Yuan
Role: Queens Memory Curator

Joined the Queens Memory team in 2021

Queens neighborhood: Astoria

I love Astoria for its open embrace of urban culture while preserving the intimacy of residential living. Not only do people from all walks of life peacefully co-exist, but they make the neighborhood feel like a welcomed refuge from the busyness of city life.

Oral history documentation runs through my family. My mom was an archivist at the local library before she immigrated to the States with my dad. My aunt took over her job and worked there for over twenty years before retiring. All archives are negotiations with the past. I’m thrilled to play a role in that negotiation while carrying on the family legacy of local history preservation.

Dacia Metes
Dacia Metes
Role: Digital Archives Manager

Joined the Queens Memory team in 2013

Queens neighborhood: Forest Hills, Jackson Heights

I’ve lived in Forest Hills for 5 years. My father grew up in Jackson Heights, so I have a family connection to the neighborhood.

History isn’t just big events and so called “important” people. It’s the lived experiences of every person. I’m honored that the people of Queens trust us to collect and preserve their memories and family histories.

Michael Chui
Role: Metadata Services Librarian

Joined the Queens Memory team in 2023

Queens neighborhood: Jackson Heights and Flushing

My family settled in Jackson Heights in the 1980s and that’s where I grew up. I used to visit or travel through Flushing a lot for restaurants, shopping, or school while growing up. So Flushing has been a significant place to me as far back as I can remember and I ended up moving there in my early 30s.

I’ve always found it fascinating to learn about the history and evolution of Queens from the 1800s onward. The Queens Memory Project allows me to do that every day, with a particular emphasis on oral history interviews that document the lived experiences of the people of Queens from mid 20th century to the present day. It’s a pleasure to discover how people from all sorts of backgrounds and walks of life experience and shape the borough.

Aimai Reporter
Aimai Reporter
Role: Metadata, Digital Archives, and Digital Projects.

Joined the Queens Memory team in 2016

Queens neighborhood: Ridgewood, Maspeth

Our family studio is in Maspeth (in an area once called Melvina or Malvina), Ridgewood is where many family friends live.

As someone who has worked with archives and digital collections around NYC for over 10 years, I see the need to collect stories from regular people of diverse backgrounds. Too many of our institutional collections represent the past “establishment” culture of the time and leave out stories of women, people of color, and the working class. We need stories from everyone!

Grace de Sagun
Role: Digitization Supervisor

Joined the Queens Memory team in 2013

Queens neighborhood: Hillside - Jamaica area

I basically grew up in Jamaica. My family & I moved here when I was in the 3rd grade. I finished high school at Hillcrest and Associates in La Guardia Community College. I started as an intern at Queens Public Library while finishing up my associates degree until I graduated at New York City College of Technology. I basically spent all my adult life in Queens. Most of my families and friends live around here.

Working on the Queens Memory project is a good source of inspiration. Having an access and exposure in capturing the actual experiences of strength, courage, and life in general of the residents of Queens is another momentous learning experience for me. Being part of the team that archives and preserves the history of Queens and its residents has given me exposures to different cultures and diversity.

Annie Tummino
Annie Tummino
Role: Head of Special Collections and Archives, Queens College

Joined the Queens Memory team in 2010

Queens neighborhood: Jackson Heights

Jackson Heights is diverse, vibrant, and filled with wonderful food.

Queens College is honored to be affiliated with the Queens Memory Project. It’s an amazing resource for documenting the lived experience of our borough and our campus.

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