Resources for Family Folklife and History
Folklife | Manuals | Directories |Genealogy |Projects | Reunions |Collection
Care | Print
Folklife and Ethnographic Research
Guides, and Educational Resources
- Center for
the Study of History and Memory. Indiana
University. Educational materials for college-level instruction in history
- Cultural Heritage for Innovative
Community Outreach (CHICO). University of Michigan School of Information.
The CHICO web site includes many resources for the arts, cultural education,
and community and family cultural expressions.
Research Guides. Vermont Folklife Center. Includes
guides to using digital recording equipment.
- Folklife and
by Peter Bartis, American
Folklife Center, Library of Congress (online and in print. Spanish-language
version available as a PDF online or in print).
Leader's Guide: A Cultural Heritage Program. Michigan State University.
(Some educational materials are online and others are available for
purchase). Folkpatterns is a cultural heritage program for children
that encourages them to explore and document historical and traditional
patterns such as games, stories, foods, family lore, art, celebrations,
architecture, songs, and dance.
Legacy Guide. A manual designed to assist collectors
of African American oral history (the link provided goes to an informational
page that includes a link to download the 28 page manual in PDF format,
4.12 megabytes). Created by the National
Visionary Leadership Project, an African American
oral history project.
Minute Guide to Oral History. Regional Oral History Office, University
of California at Berkeley.
- An Oral Historian’s Work: A Guide for Field Workers in Folklore and Oral History, by Edward D. Ives (video)
Smithsonian Folklife and Oral History Interviewing Guide. (online
only). Marjorie Hunt, Smithsonian Institution.
This and other educational resources in folklife and cultural research
may be found on the Web site for the Smithsonian
Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.
- Step-By-Step Guide
to Oral History. dohistory.org
- Southern Oral History Program. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
- Folklife Resources for Educators. American
Folklife Center, Library of Congress. Database of educational materials
provided by organizations throughout the United States, including materials
to teach cultural documentation and oral history.
Directories of Folklife, Oral History, and
Cultural Documentation Organizations
Genealogy and Family History
Ongoing National Documentary Projects
Following is a list of ongoing projects that are engaged in collecting
folklore and oral history to provide examples for researchers.
Most of these sites also provide educational materials for teachers. Some
projects may accept participation by people who wish to be interviewed
or by interviewers who are able to provide interviews that meet their
- The American Century
Project. St. Andrew's Episcopal School, Austin, TX (a student oral
history project. For educational resources, see "Handouts for Students" and "Oral
History in the Classroom For Educators.")
National Visionary Leadership Project. Thhis African American oral
history project has created the Legacy
Guide to assist collectors of African American
oral history. In addition, the NVLP has created the National
Registry of African American Oral Histories to provide a national
database of these collections.
list of repositories that will accept collections from this project is
also available on the web site.
- StoryCorps. A national
non-profit project of Sound Portraits
Productions undertaken in
partnership with the Library of Congress. The web site provides information
on the project and guidelines for participants. This organization and
its web site are not part of the Library of Congress. The collections,
however, are donated to the Library and are available in the
American Folklife Center Reading Room.
- Veterans History Project. American
Folklife Center, Library of Congress. Provides a fieldwork kit for the
documentation of military and non-military participants in conflicts
from World War I to the present. The video and audio recordings of these
interviews will be housed at the American Folklife Cente and available
to the public.
- Family Reunion List. A
list of online resources by Benjamin J. Ford, II. (This link is outside
the Library of Congress site. It is a non-commercial site, providing
links to both commercial and non-commercial resources. Included is a
directory of family reunions in the U.S., organized by surname.)
Organizing and Caring for Information Collected
in Your Family History Project
- Caring for your
Collections. Preservation Directorate, Library of Congress. Includes
information on how to preserve recordings, photographs, films, videos,
books, documents, and artifacts.
- Ethnographic Collections
in the Archive of Folk Culture: A Contributor's Guide. A
booklet by Stephanie A. Hall, American Folklife Center, Library of
Congress. Includes advice that will help collectors organize, house,
and mark collections to be kept at home and prepare materials for
donation to an archive.
- Folklife and Fieldwork.
Booklet by Peter Bartis, American Folklife Center (online and in print.
Spanish-language version available in PDF online or in print).
Preservation of Family Treasures
and Damage Sources of Paper Materials. Smithsonian Institution. PDF, 4 pages, 29.8 kb.
- The Deterioration
and Preservation of Paper: Some Essential
Facts. Preservation, Library
to Preservation Matting and Framing. Preservation, Library
Paper Artifacts. Smithsonian
Institution. PDF, 3 pages, 35.7 kb.
and Environment Options for Paper Documents in Storage. Smithsonian
Institution. PDF, 4 pages, 22.5 kb.
to Preserve Acidic Wood Pulp Paper. Conserve
O Gram 19/24, National
Park Service. PDF, 4 pages, 27.6 kb.
- Preserving Works
on Paper: Manuscripts, Drawings, Prints, Posters, Maps, and Documents.
Preservation Directorate, Library of Congress.
Albums, Bibles, Books,
Diaries and Scrapbooks
Photographs including Negatives, Prints, Slides, and Transparencies
Recorded Sound, Film, Video, and Magnetic Computer Storage Media
- Care, Handling,
and Storage of Motion Picture Film. Preservation
Directorate, Library of Congress.
of Archival Compact Disks.Conserve O Gram 19/19, National
Park Service. PDF, 4 pages, 1.03mb.
- Creation, Care, and Storage
of Digital Materials.
National Park Service. A list of PDF documents.
- Cylinder, Disc,
and Tape Care in a Nutshell. Preservation
Directorate, Library of Congress.
- Digital and Electronic
Documents, Images, Tape, and Family Web sites: Digital Preservation.
Directorate, Library of Congress.
- Magnetic Media Preservation:
A Selected Bibliography. Preservation Directorate, Library of Congress.
Art and Artifacts
Conservation Institute: Taking Care Section. Smithsonian
Institution. Includes information
on appraisals, dating of artifacts, and caring for antique communication
devices, furniture and wooden objects, ivory
objects, antique armaments, dolls and toys, musical boxes, musical
instruments, old houses, paintings, and antique textiles.
Print Publications on Family Foklife
and Oral History
- Cutting-Baker, Holly, and Amy Kotkin. Family Folklore. Washington,
DC: Family Folklife Program, Smithsonian Institution, National Park Service,
- Linda Barnickel. Oral
History for the Family Historian. Booklet from
History Association, Carlisle, PA, 2006. Print publication $15.00.
- Zeitlin, Steve, Amy Kotkin, and Holly Cutting-Baker. A Celebration
of American Family Folklore: Tales and Traditions From the Smithsonian
Collection. New York: Pantheon Books, 1982.
- Bogart, Barbara Allen and William Lynwood Montell. From Memory
to History: Using Oral Sources for Historical Research. Nashville,
TN: American Association for State
and Local History, 1981.