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2020 AFC Mummers’ Play Podcast: The Peaceful Transfer of Mumming

In the week or two before Christmas, staff members of the American Folklife Center engage in a dramatic, comedic, and musical performance that tours the halls of the Library of Congress. The performance is based on traditional mummers’ plays, and allows us to put our research skills into play alongside our more playful impulses. This year, we realized we couldn’t perform our mummers’ play live, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We didn’t want to let the pandemic defeat us, though, so we decided to do our play anyway–just in a different way. We’ve been recording our podcast, Folklife Today, remotely throughout the pandemic, we reasoned. So why not do the mummers’ play as a podcast episode, sort of like an old-time radio play? The audio, play script, and photos are all here in this blog!

Masking and Mumming for the Holidays, Thanksgiving Style!

Happy Thanksgiving! In this post, we’ll take a look at a set of interesting photos from the Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs Division. They depict a custom most people nowadays don’t know much about: Thanksgiving masking. Thanksgiving maskers, like trick-or-treaters on contemporary Halloween, used to go door to door, begging for handouts. They also […]

Mumming Up: AFC Mumming on Wednesday, December 11, 2019

The American Folklife Center Mummers will present their annual mummers’ ; play in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress at 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday, December 11. It’s open to the public, so come on in and see us perform! This year’s play is called AFC Mums While Washington Burns: A Conservation Mumming. It’s 1814 and the Capitol has just been burned by the British, so James Madison throws Library collections in a dogsled and heads for the conservators at the North Pole Library.

FrankenMumming: The 2018 AFC Mummers’ Play

Note: Every year, in the week of the Library’s holiday party, staff members of the American Folklife Center put our research and performance skills into play, bringing collections to life in a dramatic performance that tours the halls of the Library of Congress.  Dressed in costumes that range from striking to silly, we sing, act, […]

Mumming Up Soon! AFC Mumming is Wednesday!

The American Folklife Center Mummers will present their annual mummers’ play in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress at 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday, December 12. It’s open to the public, so come on in and see us perform! This year’s play is called FrankenMumming: An Arctic Monster Library Modernization Mumming. It features innovators-in-residence […]

In Comes I! 2017 Mumming Is Tomorrow!

Every year, in the week of the Library’s holiday party, staff members of the American Folklife Center put on a play based on ancient traditions, dressed up with a modern twist. Dressed in costumes that range from striking to silly, we sing, act, rhyme, and dance for other Library staff members and for members of the […]

St. George and the Arrearage Monster: A Mumming in Process

Note: Every year, in the week of the Library’s holiday party, staff members of the American Folklife Center put our research and performance skills into play, bringing collections to life in a dramatic performance that tours the halls of the Library of Congress.  Dressed in costumes that range from striking to silly, we sing, act, […]

Hipster St. George and the Unicorn: A Web Archiving Mumming

Note: Every year, in the week before Christmas, staff members of the American Folklife Center put our research and performance skills into play, bringing collections to life in a dramatic performance that tours the halls of the Library of Congress.  Dressed in costumes that range from striking to silly, we sing, act, rhyme, and dance […]

St. George, the Dragon, and the Squid: A Preservation Mumming

Note: Every year, in the week before Christmas, staff members of the American Folklife Center put our research and performance skills into play, bringing collections to life in a dramatic performance that tours the halls of the Library of Congress.  Dressed in costumes that range from striking to silly, we sing, act, rhyme, and dance […]

St. George and the Data Dragon: A Digital Assets Mumming

St. George and the Data Dragon: A Digital Assets Mumming Performed by American Folklife Center Staff with Guests Script drawn from multiple plays in the James Madison Carpenter Collection. Compiled by Stephen Winick, with additional material by Stephen Winick, Jennifer Cutting, Theadocia Austen, Hope O’Keeffe, and the company. Digital assets jargon courtesy of Bertram Lyons.  […]