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Folklore and Museums

Established in November 2014 as an outgrowth of the AFS Folklore and Museum Policy and Practice Working Group, the Folklore and Museums Section of the American Folklore Society exists to foster communication and cooperation among museum-oriented folklorists, to advance the contribution of folklore studies scholarship and practice in museum settings, and to articulate museum-oriented folklorists with other colleagues, institutions, and organizations in the museum sector. The section aims, whenever possible, to cooperate with other sections of the American Folklore Society and with peer-organizations in the field.

The 2020–2021 conveners of this section are Emily Bianchi (Indiana University) and Adrienne Decker (Utah Division of Arts and Museums).

Contact the section conveners at [email protected].

The Section’s Founding Context (ca. 2014)

The following is an excerpt from the request made to the AFS Executive Board seeking the creation of a Folklore and Museums section. It sketches the contexts motivating the formation of the section.

“The past several years have seen a noticeable strengthening of museum-based folklore activity within the Society. This is evident in increased training, research, and teaching in U.S. folklore graduate programs, successful panels held at the Society’s annual meetings, new professional museum placements by younger folklorists, the establishment of a AFS Folklore and Museum Policy Working Group, and the designation of museum folklore as a key emphasis for the Society’s ongoing partnership with the China Folklore Society and various institutions, including museums, in the Chinese folklore community. In the context of these developments, the members of the Folklore and Museum Policy Working Group have been particularly concerned to insure that there will a broad-based and open venue in which all AFS members with museum interests can gather (in-person and virtually) to pursue common interests and to advance the field in this sector. Towards this end, a Folklore and Museums Section is proposed here.”

Section History

The American Folklore Society’s Folklore and Public Policy Working Group on Folklore and Museums published its white paper on folklore in museum policy and practice in 2014.

Past Section Conveners

2018–2019 Michael W. Knoll, HistoryMiami Museum, [email protected] AND Rachelle H. (Riki) Saltzman, Oregon Folklife Network, [email protected]

2014–2016  Jason Baird Jackson, Mathers Museum of World Cultures, Indiana University, [email protected]

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