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Explore Your Community: A Poster for Teachers and Students, Part 3

This is part three of a three-part series presenting the lesson suggestions on the Explore Your Community Poster (PDF), designed for middle school and high school classrooms. Read Part One. Read Part Two. Mapping Your World All communities—whether urban, suburban, or rural—have their own cultural heritage. Did you ever explain your neighborhood to someone visiting […]

Explore Your Community: A Poster for Teachers and Students, Part 1

This is part one of a three-part series presenting the lesson suggestions on the Explore Your Community Poster (PDF), designed for middle school and high school classrooms. Read Part Two. Read Part Three. The American Folklife Center and the the Rural School and Community Trust collaborated on an educational poster designed for middle and high school […]

Share Your Photos of Halloween

The following is a post I wrote jointly with Trevor Owens of the Library’s Office of Strategic Initiatives, with input from many colleagues throughout the Library of Congress. Share your photos of Halloween, Día de los Muertos, and related holidays with AFC and the World! #FolklifeHalloween2014 Halloween, All Souls Day, All Saints Day, Día de […]

Kids Explain Their Rhymes, Games, and Songs

This post is part of a series of posts called Staff Finds During Difficult Times, in which staff members discuss collections and items that have been inspiring them while they are working at home during the COVID-19 pandemic or in other difficult circumstances. Find the whole series here! As I work from home and keep […]

Homegrown Plus Premiere: Pamyua’s Modern Yup’ik Drumsongs

We’re excited to continue the Homegrown Plus Premiere series with Pamyua, a trio performing traditional Inuit (Yup’ik) drumsongs from Alaska with a distinct and unique American sound. As is usual for the series, this blog post includes an embedded concert video, an interview video, and a set of related links to explore! Together for more than 15 years, Pamyua (pronounced Bum yo-ah) has entertained millions with their fusion of traditional Inuit music and Yup’ik dance performance. Founding members Phillip Blanchett, Stephen Blanchett and Ossie Kairaiuak are from the Yukon/ Kuskokwim River Delta region in southwestern Alaska. Pamyua found national recognition in 2003, winning Record of the Year at the Native American Music Awards, and is now considered a cultural treasure across the circumpolar north. Native People magazine praised their “blizzard of interlocking harmonies” and Alaska magazine rated them “one of the 10 greatest Alaska artists of the millennium.” The group has performed at distinguished events worldwide, including the 25th Anniversary of Greenlandic home rule, which was attended by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, and the grand opening of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian.

Homegrown Plus Premiere: ‘Ukulele Master Herb Ohta, Jr.

We’re continuing the Homegrown Plus Premiere series with international recording artist Herb Ohta, Jr., who is one of today’s most prolific ʻukulele masters. In this blog you’ll find an embedded concert video, an interview video, and a set of related links to explore! We’re very excited to present Herb Ohta, Jr. in the series. Influenced by jazz, R&B, Latin and Brazilian music, as well as traditional Hawaiian sounds, he puts his stamp on Hawaiian music by pushing the limits of tone and technique on this beautiful instrument. The son of ʻukulele legend “Ohta-san,” he started playing at the age of three, and began teaching at the age of nine. Based in Honolulu, he shares the music of Hawaiʻi and the beauty of the ʻukulele with people around the world, performing concerts and conducting instructional workshops. As a special treat, Herb asked his good friend Jake Shimabukuro to join him for a medley of traditional Hawaiian songs. Shimabukuro, also a Honolulu native, is one of the most highly acclaimed ʻukulele players in the world, and has collaborated with many great musicians, including Willie Nelson, Bette Midler, Jimmy Buffett, Kenny Loggins, and Amy Mills. He’s never forgotten his roots in Hawaiian music, though, and was kind enough to join Herb in his Homegrown concert.

Celebrate International Women’s Day with I am Not Invisible 3.0 Women Veteran Panel

The following is a post about the upcoming Veterans History Project (VHP) virtual discussion panel, “I Am Not Invisible 3.0” Women veterans panel discussion.   March is Women’s History Month, a time for the veteran community to draw its attention to the two-million women who wore our nation’s uniform. Women veterans are our family members, friends and […]

Outgoing Archive Director Leaves Big Shoes to Fill

From late December 2012 through early June 2021, Nicole Saylor led a team of archivists, ethnomusicologists and folklorists that curates the nation’s largest ethnographic archives. She worked to preserve the American Folklife Center’s collecting legacy while accelerating the transformation of an already well-established archives for the digital age. She recently took a position at the Library as the Chief of the Digital Innovation Lab, a position established to lead the Library’s innovation with digital collections and to support its digital transformation. As she began her new position, we interviewed her about her time at AFC.