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The Archivesque: Reframing Folklore Collecting in a Popular Culture World

This post is an adaptation of my keynote address to the American Folklore Society’s pre-conference on folklore archiving, “Adventures in Folklore Archiving,” Oct. 16, 2017 in Minneapolis, MN. I was out at a DC party recently and was asked the classic DC party question: “What do you do for a living?” My answer was that I […]

Don’t Worry, Turkey on Thanksgiving is Historically Accurate!

Each year, as Thanksgiving Day rolls around, the blogosphere is bombarded with articles telling us that everything we know about Thanksgiving is wrong. In particular, these articles focus on the three-day event in autumn 1621, during which English colonists at Plymouth, Massachusetts, hosted 90 members of the Wampanoag tribe for a feast. Skeptical articles revisiting […]

Thanksgiving Road Trip

The following is the fourth in a series relating to the Medal of Honor. Thanksgiving, with millions of Americans on the road, is one of the busiest travel seasons of the year.  If you’re doing the traveling this year, I implore you to try a new travel game: find the Medal of Honor landmarks/monuments across America, and the recipients […]

James Mooney Recordings of American Indian Ghost Dance Songs, 1894

In the summer of 1894 James Mooney, a scholar of American Indian culture and language, made recordings of songs of the Ghost Dance in several languages.  The James Money Recordings of American Indian Ghost Dance Songs have recently been updated and are part of the presentation, Emile Berliner and the Birth of the Recording Industry. […]

AFC accelerates its efforts to preserve analog media

This is a guest post by American Folklife Center archivist Maya Lerman. Staff in the American Folklife Center archive finished a project that will improve our efficiency in preserving and making accessible AFC’s rich audiovisual collections. Like audiovisual archives everywhere, AFC is working to prepare for a time when obsolescence and degradation of physical media will greatly hinder preservation efforts. We […]

Folklife at the International Level: Issues in Protecting Traditional Cultural Expressions

In the last “Folklife at the International Level” post, Wend Wendland, Director of WIPO’s Traditional Knowledge Division, recounted that the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) was formed by WIPO member states in 2000. The aim was to discuss issues relating to the protection of TCEs (called at […]