Vermont Folklife Center Middlebury Vermont

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VFC Events: Remembering Newt Washburn Lecture

Newt Washburn and cradle

On Saturday. September 13, at 2:00 PM the Vermont Folklife Center will host a slide lecture by basket scholar, Donna Kelley on the life and work of National Heritage Award Winning New Hampshire basket maker, Newt Washburn (1915-2011). Washburn, a descendant of the legendary Sweetster family of basket makers, made his first brown ash basket in 1923 when he was eight years old, at a time when ash baskets were a utility item in great demand. Although he moved away from basketry during much of his adulthood, he returned to with great acclaim later in life.

Donna Kelley will share her knowledge of the Sweetser family, their basket making techniques, and the Abenaki influence. The presentation will be complemented by stories Newt shared about growing up in a basket making family. Washburn and Sweetser baskets from Donna’s collection are currently on exhibit at the Vermont Folklife Center, open Tuesday through Saturday 10pm - 5pm.

The lecture is free and open to the public.


VFC News: In Memoriam, Harold Luce (1918-2014)

Harold Luce, Photo by John Gilbert Fox

Photo by Jon Gilbert Fox

We are saddened to report the passing of master Yankee fiddler and dance caller, Harold Luce of Chelsea, VT on August 13, 2014.

Harold served as a Master in the Vermont Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program from its beginnings in 1991 through the early 2000s. In 2003 he received the Vermont Governor's Heritage Award.

A biography of Harold by his friend, Adam Boyce, as well as selections from a 2007 recording session are avalable here :: link


VFC Exhibits :: Hitting the Mat

Hitting the Mat

By day, the men and women of Slam All-Star Wrestling are carpenters, roofers and office workers, but by night they are a brotherhood of giants, heroes and villains. A misfit bunch clad in spandex, feather boas and studded leather, the members of this small professional wrestling community entertain screaming crowds once a month on a humble stage at the Moose Lodge in St. Albans, VT.

Hitting the Mat, an exhibit by photojournalist Emily McManamy, weaves together vivid photographs and audio interviews with ambient soundscapes and a looping film clips, offering a diverse invitation to join the crowd, enter the ring, or even sneak behind-the-scenes of this high-energy, physical and performance-based brand of wrestling. Bold personas and spectacular public moments are counterbalanced by quieter, more intimate ones—thanks in no small part to McManamy’s abilities as a storyteller and the relationships she built over time to become a trusted, albeit temporary, insider.

Hitting the Mat will be on display through October 4th, 2014. Join us for a special Exhibit Reception event on August 8 from 5:00pm-8:00pm.


Hours of Operation
Exhibit and Sales Galleries :: Tuesday - Saturday, 10am - 5pm
Archive & Research Center :: By Appointment
Office :: Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm

Vermont Folklife Center
88 Main Street
Middlebury, VT 05753
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