WKU’s Library Special Collections granted accreditation by KOHC

WKU Libraries: Special Collections, our home repository, has been granted accreditation status by the Kentucky Oral History Commission. From the recent press release:

Western Kentucky University’s Manuscripts and Folklife Archives, a part of the Department of Library Special Collections, was recently granted accreditation status by the Kentucky Oral History Commission (KOHC). Archives that receive accreditation serve as “permanent repositories for oral history collections, which KOHC sponsors through grant awarded funds.” With its newly appointed status, the Folklife Archives joins a group of state-recognized institutions dedicated to the long-term care, preservation, and maintenance of regionally-specific oral history projects. These projects, conducted by professional and amateur researchers, highlight the nuanced and complex issues surrounding community, identity, heritage, and tradition throughout the commonwealth. Accreditation is granted for a five-year period, after which the institution must re-apply.

To read the full press release, visit WKU News.





KFP’s Nicole Musgrave Graduates

For the past two years, Nicole Musgrave has served as KFP’s graduate assistant here at our home at Western Kentucky University. In that short time, she’s accomplished a great deal for KFP, including building the mobile companion to our exhibit, A Culture Carried: Bosnians in Bowling Green, taking the lead in the planning of events for the Kentucky Rural-Urban Exchange, and even spear-headed our social media presence, which has grown significantly over the years. Nicole has truly helped to grow the Kentucky Folklife Program.

This past weekend, Nicole graduated with a Master of Arts in Folk Studies alongside her cohort of classmates in the Class of 2018.

From left to right: Chloe Brown, Nicole Musgrave, Susanna Pyatt, Cara Forke, Anne Rappaport, Emily Rodriguez, and Jess Krawec. Courtesy of the WKU Folk Studies Facebook page.

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Kentucky Folklife Program to receive $20,000 Art Works grant from NEA


National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $80 million in grants as part of the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2018, including an Art Works grant of $20,000 to the Kentucky Folklife Program at WKU to support the establishment of a Kentucky Folklife Network and online magazine.

The Art Works category is the NEA’s largest funding category and supports projects that focus on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and/or the strengthening of communities through the arts.

“The variety and quality of these projects speaks to the wealth of creativity and diversity in our country,” Chu said. “Through the work of organizations such as the Kentucky Folklife Program in Bowling Green, NEA funding invests in local communities, helping people celebrate the arts wherever they are.”

“We are grateful to the NEA for their continuing belief in our mission to document, present, and conserve the traditional arts and cultural heritage of our region,” said Brent Björkman, Director of the Kentucky Folklife Program. “This Kentucky Folklife Network project will allow us to further reach out and bring to a world-wide audience via the web the rich local cultural expressions being documented by passionate community scholars living throughout the Commonwealth.”

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Season’s Greetings and Winter Office Hours


The semester’s end is quickly approaching and everyone at the Kentucky Folklife Program would like to wish wish you a ‘Happy Holidays!’ We are looking forward to sharing new events, programs, and more with you in 2018.

Please note, Western Kentucky University (and so the Kentucky Folklife Program) is closed for winter break from December 14th through January 1, 2018.  We’ll resume normal business hours on January 2nd.  See you in the new year!

Higher Ground at Appalachian Studies Conference


Higher Ground representing Harlan County, KY at the Appalachian Studies Association Conference with their hilarious and moving performance Life is Like a Vapor, a community based theater production based on local oral histories. For more information about Higher Ground and all of their projects, visit their website. #kyfolklife #higherground #kentucky #harlan #harlancounty from Instagram: http://ift.tt/2mL4sWx

Spotlight on: Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame Oral History Project


“It wasn’t the burger so much as it was the sauce.” — Georgia Davis Powers talks about growing up in Louisville, KY, about serving as the first woman and first person of color in KY’s State Senate, and about owning a restaurant and coin laundry in this oral history interview led by Nieta Wigginton. Powers bought the restaurant and coin laundry to supplement her income from her job in the State Senate. The restaurant — aptly named Senator’s Restaurant — was known for its Senator Burger and for that special sauce. For more oral history interviews with important players in the Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky, check out the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame Oral History Project.
#kyfolklife #oralhistory #civilrights #blackhistorymonth

Remembering Alan Jabbour


It is with great sadness that we mark the passing of our dear friend, colleague, and mentor, Alan Jabbour. Jabbour was a champion in the field of folklore who made strides for the inclusion of folk and traditional arts on a national platform. Notably, Jabbour was the head of the Archive of Folk Song at the Library of Congress before moving on to become the director of the folk arts program at the National Endowment for the Arts. Eventually, Jabbour went on to become the founding director of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Jabbour is known for his work documenting the songs of old-time musicians and was an accomplished fiddler in his own right. He is also noted for his contributions to vernacular architecture through his work with Traditional Cultural Properties.
In 2013, the Kentucky Folklife Program and WKU’s Department of Folk Studies & Anthropology were lucky enough to host Jabbour, along with Ken Perlman on the banjo, for a concert in our Pioneer Log Cabin. Jabbour’s passing is certainly a great loss to our field of folklore, but his legacy will no doubt live on through his work and through those he mentored and encouraged along the way.