KFP Celebrates Oral History Day

20151020_143947Today is Oral History Day! The Kentucky Folklife Program is celebrating by announcing our new initiative to engage the Bosnian community of Bowling Green and represent the issues and aspects of their culture they feel are most important to share with the general public. As a part of WKU’s International Year of Bosnia-Herzegovina, a working group of five young members of the Bosnian community and members of the Department of Folk Studies (including our director, Brent Bjorkman, and folklife specialist, Virginia Siegel, pictured here) will be conducting oral history interviews over the course of 2016 and 2017. Resulting programming will be a collaboration between the Kentucky Folklife Program and the Kentucky Museum, and include an exhibit as well as smaller community events.

This week, we are also depositing interviews, photos, and videos collected by Josh Chrysler in the Mammoth Cave region this summer into WKU’s Folklife Archives. The archives are housed at the Kentucky Museum as a part of Library Special Collections, and are available for public access.

KFP at the Horse Cave Heritage Festival

KFP is making the trip to nearby Horse Cave, Kentucky, for their annual fall festival tomorrow, September 19. Dr. Tim Evans’ graduate-level public folklore class will work with us to facilitate six narrative stages and document the festival. Visit the Horse Cave Heritage Festival website for a schedule of events, and stay tuned for students’ photos and videos. Hope you can join us!

Beekeeping in the Mammoth Cave Region Narrative Stage

Sanders and Priddy tend one of their hives.
Sanders and Priddy tend one of their hives.

Please note: The time for this event has been changed from 7:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Early settlers kept bees and used honey to sweeten their food, but beekeeping is still an active and important tradition in the Mammoth Cave region. Join folklorist Josh Chrysler and special guests, Edmonson County beekeepers Sherry Sanders and Nathan Priddy, for a discussion about beekeeping in this part of the state on Thursday, August 20, at 7:00 p.m. at Mammoth Cave National Park’s amphitheater. Topics will include changes over time and the practice’s significance in the community and larger ecological system.

For more information, contact Chrysler at chrysler.joshua@gmail.com.

Quilting in the Mammoth Cave Region Narrative Stage

Quilting is a widespread and dynamic traditional art form that is important both for its utilitarian purposes and its artistic elements. Join Folklorist in the Park Josh Chrysler and special guests Yvonne Campbell, Bessie Crenshaw, and Charlotte Vasquez, local quilters in the Mammoth Cave Region, for a discussion about the importance of quilting in their lives on August 13 at 7:30 p.m. Topics include varieties of quilting methods (such as hand quilting, machine quilting, and longarm machine quilting) as well as different patterns and the importance of quilting as a family and community tradition.

This event will be held at Mammoth Cave National Park’s amphitheater. Funding for this event and supporting research was provided by an NEA ArtWorks grant. Contact Chrysler at chrysler.joshua@gmail.com for more information.

Basketmaking in South Central Kentucky Narrative Stage

Two baskets made by the Long Family. Although many baskets made in South Central Kentucky are made out of white oak, the Longs use willow and honeysuckle.

This event has been rescheduled for Tuesday, August 4, at 7:30 p.m. Hope to see you there!

Basketmaking is one of the most longstanding and vibrant traditional art forms in the Mammoth Cave region. Although most baskets in South Central Kentucky are made of white oak, other basketmaking traditions exist as well, such as willow and honeysuckle. Join fieldworker Josh Chrysler and special guests Charles, Charlene, and Brandon Long at Mammoth Cave National Park on July 28 for a discussion of the willow and honeysuckle basketmaking traditions in their family. Topics of discussion include the utilitarian and artistic elements of the baskets and the role that basketmaking has played for the Longs.

This free event will take place in the park amphitheater on Tuesday, July 28, at 7:30 PM. Contact Chrysler at chrysler.joshua@gmail.com for more information.

Hunters and their Dogs in the Mammoth Cave Region

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Hunters in the Mammoth Cave region of south-central Kentucky have been training dogs to aid in hunting for generations. Different game requires different breeds of dogs that are specifically bred and trained for their unique hunting and tracking skills. Join Folklorist-in-the-Park Josh Chrysler and special guests, John Meredith, a rabbit hunter and his Beagle; Tommy Smith, a coon and squirrel hunter and his Treeing Walker Coonhound; and Heather Streible, a duck and goose hunter and her Labrador Retriever, for a discussion of the hunting traditions in the Mammoth Cave area.

This discussion will be held at Mammoth Cave National Park’s ampitheater at 7:30 p.m. Contact Chrysler at chrysler.joshua@gmail.com for more information.

Funding for this event and supporting research was provided by an NEA ArtWorks grant.

See photos from this past event below.

Travel Exhibit Panels on Display at Taylor Co. Public Library

In early 2014, KFP began working on a set of exhibit panels discussing Kentucky’s white oak basket-making tradition. Funded by a recently awarded NEA ArtWorks grant, these free-standing, 3′ x 7′ retractable panels incorporate images of basket-makers, their work, and the life narratives of these artists to help contextualize this important local tradition for a wide audience. To enhance the project and provide an even greater understanding of this important regional tradition, we have written additional funding into the grant to bring basket-makers into each library location for hands-on demonstrations and discussion about their work.

These six panels, previously in Glasgow at the Mary Wood Weldon Memorial Library, have moved on to the Taylor Co. Public Library, where they will stay through the first week of August. Beth Hester of Basket Maker’s Catalog will join the library at 5:30 p.m. on August 6 for a lecture and workshop. The lecture portion is open to all, but the hour-long workshop is limited to 20 participants. Contact Jessie Harden, Adult Services Librarian, at jessieharden@tcplibrary.org to register.

See photos from our last workshop on June 23 at theMary Wood Weldon Memorial Library below


KFP Partnering with Mammoth Cave National Park for Summer Survey

Josh Chrysler, a recent graduate of WKU’s Folk Studies program, will act as Folklorist in the Park at Mammoth Cave.

The Kentucky Folklife Program is partnering with Mammoth Cave National Park for a special summer-long, National Endowment for the Arts-sponsored project, titled Folklorist in the Park. The Kentucky Folklife Program has hired Josh Chrysler, a recent graduate from WKU’s Folk Studies master’s program, to work as the Folklorist in the Park.

This will be done through ethnographic interviews, oral histories and photography, which will be placed in the Folklife Archives in the Kentucky Museum at WKU, as well as with the archives at Mammoth Cave National Park. The Kentucky Folklife Program will then be working with Mammoth Cave National Park staff to create special events, such as evening folklife presentations at the Park, to showcase the traditional culture and arts of the region to both park visitors and community members. These programs will be occurring later as the summer progresses. Since 1989, the mission of the Kentucky Folklife Program has been to engage with Kentucky communities to document, present and conserve the diverse traditional arts and cultural heritage of the entire state. This summer, Chrysler and the Kentucky Folklife Program will be focusing on documenting the traditional culture, arts and music of the Mammoth Cave region.

Brent Björkman, director of the Kentucky Folklife Program as well as the Kentucky Museum, emphasized the importance of this project: “This kind of documentation and presentation at the Park really emphasizes the fact that the traditional arts and cultural heritage of the Mammoth Cave region are not just important historically, but they are also dynamically alive today, and vitally important to the community. This project celebrates both the history of the Mammoth Cave region and its future moving forward.”

Chrysler and the Kentucky Folklife Program would also like to ask for help in this project. If you or anybody you know practices a traditional skill or art, including but not limited to basketmaking, quilting, traditional music, hunting practices, traditional food preparation or recipes, comment on this post or contact Chrysler directly at (270) 791-8653. Chrysler has already begun work on the project, and will continue through the end of August 2015.