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Blues musician Vasti Jackson sings Robert Johnson tunes, detail from poster. Photo by Patrick Snook, 1999.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 assistance.

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: May 11, 2009tml. 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: folklife@loc.gov. 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: info@ruraledu.org.

 

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   September 30, 2014
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