NHPRC Funds Survey of Regional Fieldwork Collections

Friends Newsletter Fall 2005 vol. 3 no. 2

| Director's Column | Documentary Discs | Wisconsin Folksong Digital Collection | NHPRC Regional Survey |
| Oneida Narratives | Ja, de elsker |

NHPRC Funds Survey of Regional Fieldwork Collections

If you have knowledge about past publicly-funded fieldwork documentation from the Upper Midwest, we at CSUMC are eager to speak with you.

Expanding on survey work already begun in Wisconsin and border areas, we are now embarking on a one-year examination of multi-format ethnographic materials from the Upper Midwest; Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The information we gather will become the foundation for an online catalog set to launch in the fall of 2006.

This one-year survey project is funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), the grant-making affiliate of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Our efforts are an extension of the Access to Prior Folk Arts Projects in the Upper Midwest, a two-year effort funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and led by folklorist Janet C. Gilmore. That project yielded information about more than 50 publicly funded projects in Wisconsin and about a dozen detailed collection guides that are expected to be available online yet this year.

The forthcoming catalog will complement those guides by providing general information about a broad array of Upper Midwestern collections. When available, the collection guides will be accessible through links in the catalog entry (the guides will also be accessible through an online collection of finding aids from throughout Wisconsin). As with the previous project, the regional survey is aimed at making it easier for the public, especially the people featured in this documentation, to find and use these important resources.

Already, we have been in touch with state folk arts coordinators and other folklorists in the region to identify significant collections. Later this fall we will send out an online survey (print surveys are also available for those who want them) to gather more detailed information. We will then identify a handful of collections for further explorations and conduct site visits to gather additional information.

CSUMC Archivist, Nicole Saylor, is coordinating the project and Joia O'Brien, a student in the University of Wisconsin School of Library and Information Studies, is working to shore up information about various collections, starting with ones housed at the Wisconsin Arts Board.

To focus our efforts we are working from a list of past NEA-funded folk arts projects, yet we are interested in all kinds of publicly funded field documentation. We are actively making contact with regional folklorists and archivists, yet if you have information you would like to share don't hesitate to get in touch with us. You can contact Nicole Saylor at (608) 262-8180 or by email at nasaylor@wisc.edu.

Nicole Saylor is Folklorist and Archivist at the Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures.

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