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Category: AFC History

Side by side head and shoulders portraits of two women.

Announcing a New Cohort of AFC Summer Interns

Posted by: Nicole Saylor

The American Folklife Center is pleased to announce the selection of three summer interns who will work on public programs, outreach activities and descriptive access work. One intern comes to us from the Utah State University folklore studies program, and two are supported by the AFC Internship Fund. Hanna Salmon is a PhD candidate in Ethnomusicology at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research examines how Palestinian storytellers foster affective atmospheres through their performances. Maggie Jones has just graduated magna cum laude from First Nations University of Canada’s Indigenous Languages Program with a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics. They have an interest in Algonquian languages, Indigenous oral history, language revitalization, and journalism. Melanie Kimball is earning an MA in folklore studies at Utah State University. Her research interests include supernatural legends, folk beliefs, vernacular religion, and ethnomusicology. Her thesis investigates how people use music as an apotropaic and folk remedy for fear. Since 2017, the AFC Internship Fund has supported 12 paid internships. It was started by a generous donation from the late Peter Bartis, a former staff member. As the American Folklife Center approaches its 50th anniversary in 2026, we are committed to building this fund to help train a new generation of cultural workers.

Heather Hodges Headshot

AFC Board of Trustees Names New Chair Heather Hodges

Posted by: Nicole Saylor

Heather Hodges was elected chair of the American Folklife Center Board of Trustees at the fall board meeting September 15, 2023. Lori Pourier, CEO of the First Peoples Fund, was elected vice chair. Heather replaces Amy Kitchener, Executive Director for the Alliance of California Traditional Arts, who served as Board chair from 2019-2023. Heather is the Director of Institutional Advancement at the Historic New Orleans Collection, where she raises awareness and finds resources to support the museum's work. Heather has served on the AFC Board since 2020, and her collaborations with AFC date back to 2017. We are thrilled to have her leading the Board in the lead-up to the 50th anniversary of AFC in 2026. She sat down with me recently to talk about her background and her vision for her new role.

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

The American Folklife Center: 2022 in Review

Posted by: Nicole Saylor

As 2022 draws to a close, we at the American Folklife Center want to take time to reflect on a year devoted to deepening our commitment to community-centered stewardship, adapting to hybrid work and planning for the future. The year was marked by the Library’s return to full onsite operations, leadership transitions, and moves to new public and staff spaces that make way for the transformation of the Jefferson Building. The year brought waves of change and staff rose to the challenge. Read about the year's highlights in this blog post from AFC's new director!

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

“Doing Something Useful:” A Tribute to AFC’s longtime volunteer, Howard Kramer

Posted by: Nicole Saylor

This is a guest post by processing coordinator Ann Hoog, who among many other things, coordinates interns and volunteers at the American Folklife Center. One of the American Folklife Center’s long-time volunteers, Marshall Howard Kramer, passed away April 30, 2020, of COVID-19. Howard was a beloved member of AFC’s family for nearly 20 years. He …

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

South-Central Georgia Folklife Project Is Now Online

Posted by: Nicole Saylor

This is a guest post by AFC folklorist Ann Hoog, who has been the division coordinator for a mass digitization and access project to reformat and make accessible online a large body of American Folklife Center field projects from the mid-1970s through the mid-1990s. The American Folklife Center is pleased to announce a new online presentation of the South-Central …

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

Moving Day and a Major Anniversary

Posted by: Nicole Saylor

This is a guest post by American Folklife Center’s Judith Gray, an ethnomusicologist who curates the largest body of early recordings of indigenous American songs and stories recorded in the United States. After all the identifying, rehousing, cataloging, labeling, barcoding, and databasing activity on the part of AFC staff over the past year, the actual …