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|Blues musician Vasti Jackson sings Robert Johnson tunes, detail from poster.
Photo by Patrick Snook, 1999.
Explore Your Community: A Community Heritage Poster for the Classroom
About the American Folklife Center and the
Rural School and Community Trust
Explore Your Community Poster Panel Six
The American Folklife Center
The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress was created
by Congress in 1976 "to preserve and present American Folklife." Its
enabling legislation includes the following definition of American
folklife: "the traditional, expressive culture shared within the
various groups in the United States: familial, ethnic, occupational,
religious, and regional; expressive culture includes a wide range
of creative and symbolic forms, such as custom, belief, technical
skill, language, literature, art, architecture, music, play, dance,
drama, ritual, pageantry, and handicraft; these expressions are
mainly learned orally, by imitation, or in performance, and are
generally maintained without benefit of formal instruction or institutional
direction." (Public Law 94-201)
The American Folklife Center includes the Archive of Folk Culture,
which was established at the Library in 1928 as a repository for
American Folk Music and has grown to become one of the most significant
collections of American and international cultural research materials
in the world.
The Center has a staff of folklorists and reference librarians
who conduct programs under the general guidance of the Librarian
of Congress and a board of trustees. It serves the U.S. Congress;
federal and state agencies; national, international, regional,
and local organizations; scholars, researchers, and students; and
the general public. The Center's programs and services include
field projects, conferences, exhibitions, workshops, concerts,
both print and online publications, online digital collections,
archival processing and preservation, reference service, and advisory
To Learn More:
- For an overview of the Center's activities and information
about the Archive of Folk Culture's collections of American and
international folk music and culture, go to the American Folklife
Center's Web site at http://www.loc.gov/folklife/
- For information on how your class can participate in a Veterans
oral history project, go to http://www.loc.gov/vets/
- For information about publications available
through the American Folklife Center, see http://www.loc.gov/folklife/az-index.html;
for recordings available through the American Folklife Center,
go to http://www.loc.gov/folklife/rec.html
- For an online sampling of historical collections from the Library
of Congress (American Memory), browse http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/index.html
- For The Learning Page, a Web site designed to help teachers
and students (6-12) use the American Memory digital collections
from the Library of Congress, see: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/ndlpedu/index.html.
This site provides guidance to finding and using items within
these primary source collections. At: http://memory.loc.gov/learn/lessons/99/ritual/intro.html, you
can find classroom lesson plans (grades 6-12) for American Memory
materials based on topics relating to "Exploring Cultural Rituals."
- Folklife-related reference questions can be answered by sending
an electronic query to the American Folklife Center at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or, write us at: The Library of Congress, American Folklife Center,
Washington, D.C. 20540-4610
The Rural School and Community Trust
The Rural School and Community
Trust (Rural Trust) is a nonprofit educational organization
dedicated to enlarging student learning and improving community
life by strengthening relationships between rural schools and
communities and engaging students in community-based public work.
Through advocacy, research, and outreach, the Rural Trust strives
to create a more favorable environment for rural schooling, for
student work with a public audience and use, and for more active
community participation in schooling.
Founded as the Annenberg Rural Challenge in 1995, the Rural Trust
today works with more than 700 rural elementary and secondary schools
in 35 states.
The theory that has guided the work of the Rural Trust is that
when rural public schools base their teaching on the culture, history,
ecology, and economy of the communities they serve, and fully engage
members of the community in the work of the school, schools and
communities improve together. Students who participate in this
kind of "place-based" learning routinely meet or exceed the most
rigorous educational standards. Communities where place-based learning
takes place are at the vanguard of a nationwide rural schools movement.
To Learn More:
- For an overview of the Rural School and Community Trust's activities,
and descriptions of school-based projects, go to the Rural Trust's
Web site at http://www.ruraledu.org
- Questions can be directed to the Rural School and Community
Trust, 1825 K Street, NW, Suite 703, Washington, DC 20006. Phone:
(202) 955-7177. FAX: (202) 955-7179. E-mail inquiries: email@example.com.