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What's Happening at the American Folklife Center

Throughout the year, the Center sponsors workshops, lectures, exhibits, concerts, and conferences (on its own and in cooperation with other Library of Congress offices and outside agencies) in order to educate the American people about the importance of their own cultural traditions and the traditions of others. All events are free and do not require tickests unless otherwise noted.

Request ADA accommodations five days in advance at 202-707-6362 or

Homegrown poster for 2012 seasonPerformances - 2012 Homegrown Concert Series
Coolidge Auditorium, Ground Floor, Thomas Jefferson Building

Online Archive of Homegrown Concerts (2005-2011) - View descriptions, flyer essays, and webcasts (as available).

Lectures - 2013 Benjamin A. Botkin Folklife Lecture Series
Lectures will be in the Pickford Auditorium, Third Floor, James Madison Building unless otherwise noted.

January 30: The Will to Adorn: African American Identity and the Aesthetics of Dress, presented by Diana Baird N'Diaye, Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.

February 20: The Cinderella No One Knows: The Grimm Brothers' Tale of Incest, Fur, and Hidden Bodies, presented by Margaret Yocom, George Mason University.

March 27: The Beautiful Music All Around Us: Field Recordings and the American Experience, presented by Stephen Wade, Researcher and Author.

April 3: Anxieties of Authorship and Ownership: Intellectual Property and the Future of Indigenous Collections, presented by Jane Anderson, Centre for Heritage and Society, Department of Anthropology, University of Massachusetts.

Online Archive of Botkin Lectures (2004 - 2012) - View descriptions, flyer essays, and webcasts (as available).

Symposia - 2013

Sept. 26-27, 2013: Cultural Heritage Archives: Networks, Innovation & Collaboration, a symposium addressing ethnographic archival thought and practice.

Online Archive of Symposia (2000 - 2012) - View descriptions, flyer essays, and webcasts (as available)


Nicole Saylor Appointed Head of American Folklife Center Archive

Nicole Saylor
Nicole Saylor

The Library of Congress is pleased to announce the appointment of Nicole Saylor as Head of the American Folklife Center Archive. Saylor will assume her duties in December 2012. She replaces Michael Taft, who retired in early 2012. In this position, Saylor will lead a long-established and highly regarded archive at the Library of Congress. Founded in 1928, the AFC Archive is the premier repository and research center for ethnographic documentation of worldwide cultural traditions. Its multimedia holdings consist of over three million photographs, manuscripts, audio recordings, and moving images, ranging from the earliest field documentation, which was collected in the 1890s on wax cylinders, to recordings utilizing present-day digital technology.

Before joining the Library, Saylor served as Head of Digital Research & Publishing (DRP) at the University of Iowa Libraries. DRP aids scholars engaged in interdisciplinary digital research by assisting in the creation and delivery of unique digital content, and by supporting sustainable, open-access publishing. DRP administers the University of Iowa Libraries' digital library and institutional repository services, and builds their participatory digital archives program as well as their spatial and data services programs. Saylor joined the University of Iowa Libraries in 2007.

Saylor holds a B.A. in Mass Communication from Iowa State University (1992) and an M.A. in Library and Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin–Madison (2004) with a certificate in Folklore. Her previous library positions include archivist-librarian at the Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures (CSUMC) at UW –Madison, and reference librarian at the Davenport (Iowa) Public Library. At CSUMC she coordinated a project funded by the National Historic Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) to survey ethnographic collections in archives, public agencies, and private hands throughout the Midwest. For a decade prior to becoming a librarian she worked as an editor at the Kansas City Star and Wisconsin State Journal newspapers. She is a core team member of the National Folklore Archives Initiative Project (which is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities), and the survey concerning the scholarly use of digital collections being conducted by Project Bamboo.

The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress is pleased to announce that "The Mickey Hart Collection" is now available.
"The Mickey Hart Collection" is a twenty-five-album series from the Grateful Dead drummer and world-music expert, who served on the AFC Board of Trustees for many years, and the non-profit label Smithsonian Folkways. "The Mickey Hart Collection" is drawn from "The World," a series Hart curated, which incorporates his solo projects, other artists’ productions, and re-releases of out-of-print titles. Six of the 25 albums form the "Endangered Music Project," a collaboration between Mickey Hart and the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, which presents recordings from musical traditions at risk. For more information, read the press release.

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   November 19, 2012
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