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For the past 30 years, the Vermont Folklife Center has been the only statewide organization dedicated to exploring and presenting the diverse cultures of Vermont—sustaining our folklife, our way of life.
ETHNOGRAPHY The goal of ethnographic inquiry, the research methodology we employ, is to understand human experience from the perspective of the people to whom that experience belongs. Ethnographic principles of mutual respect, collaboration and partnership guide the outreach programs you make possible.
ARCHIVE Private contributions by individuals like you are a primary source of support for our Archive infrastructure, which preserves the cultural legacy of Vermont through more than 20,000 historic and contemporary photographs, 5000 audio and video recordings of interviews and music, transcripts, field notes, photographs and family memories.
EXHIBITS Your donations help to make people visible to one another by sharing the experiences of Vermonters past and present through multi-media exhibits in our Middlebury gallery and traveling exhibit program - such as The Golden Cage: Mexican Migrant Workers and Vermont Dairy Farmers, pictured above.
EDUCATION Support from many individual contributors is pooled to underwrite the cost of our work with educators and students in designing place-based learning experiences that get students out of the classrooms to explore their communities.
APPRENTICESHIPS Private gifts from individuals like you are combined with federal funding from the NEA to make grants to master artists engaged in the intergenerational teaching of traditional arts, such as blacksmithing, Yankee fiddle music, Bosnian dance, and more.
SUSTAINABILITY We sustain the cultural practices that make us who we are by together supporting artists like A2VT - a group of New American musicians who combine traditional forms with hip hop - connecting past and present to ensure a vibrant future. Above, A2VT at ArtsRiot.
We explore the fabric of daily life as a resource for better understanding who we are, what we value, and where we hope to steer the future.
We are a repository for “the knowledge of everyday living” because, ironically, this knowledge—which is so familiar and basic in our present lives—is also at the greatest risk of being lost or forgotten.
Why is this important? When we talk about folklife, we’re talking about the vital cultural practices and activities that shape who we are, inform how we make sense of the world, and influence our decisions going forward.