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Kentucky Folklife Program’s archives will move to WKU on Oct. 29-30

The archives of the Kentucky Folklife Program will merge with the existing WKU Folklife Archives on Monday and Tuesday (Oct. 29-30).

With the transition of the KFP from the Kentucky Historical Society to WKU earlier this year, parallel plans were made for the KFP archives to be transferred to the Kentucky Museum at WKU. This transfer will merge KFP archival material with the already existing WKU Folklife Archives.

Upon the completion of integrating the two collections, the Kentucky Museum will become home to one of the most extensive and dynamic archive of culture and folklife in Kentucky along with such collections as those at Berea College and the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at University of Kentucky.

The combined archive will include more than 150 collections spanning across the Commonwealth of Kentucky and covering more than 40 years. The current WKU Folklore Archives includes the Lynwood Montell Collection of interviews, research and documentation of William Lynwood Montell, one of WKU’s first Folk Studies faculty members; the Sarah Gertrude Knott Collection consisting of correspondence, photographs and files from her time as Director of the National Folk Festival Association; and numerous projects and papers produced by WKU Folk Studies faculty and students.

To this will be added the numerous collections from more than 20 years of research by Kentucky Folklife Program including eight years of documentation of the Kentucky Folklife Festival; interviews, graphics, field notes, research materials and video from the EthniCity Oral History Project multicultural survey in Lexington; and 20 years of interviews, photos video and other materials from the thriving Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program.

Project Archivist Heather Stone, who was hired through a National Historical Publications and Records Commission to process and catalog the KFP Archives at Kentucky Historical Society in preparation for the move, said that “these collections are going to make a great addition to the already strong Folklife Collections held at WKU and there is still tons to be discovered within these collections.”

“The Kentucky Folklife Program is greatly honored to have the Kentucky Museum become the new home of these two important collections which contain so many intimate details of the vibrant traditional cultures that make up our state’s diverse identity,” said KFP Director Brent Björkman, “The WKU community and the entire state of Kentucky will benefit from the centralization of these assets in this dynamic and comprehensive archive of Kentucky folklife.”

Once the archives arrive at the Kentucky Museum next week, WKU Folklife Archives Coordinator Jonathan Jeffrey and staff will continue to prepare the collections to become accessible to researchers and community members.

Contact: Brent Bjorkman, (270) 745-4133 or brent.bjorkman@wku.edu

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