CHARLESTON — West Virginia’s state folklife collection is now available online. 

The original, ongoing collection consists of nearly 2,500 documentary items generated by folklife fieldwork and programs conducted by the West Virginia Folklife Program beginning in November 2015. 

Items include field-recorded interviews, other recordings, transcriptions, photos and videos, ephemera, and some material objects documenting the culture, beliefs, occupational skills, and expressive culture of contemporary tradition bearers, folk and traditional artists, and cultural communities across West Virginia. 

The goal of The West Virginia Folklife Collection is to create a publicly accessible archive of past, current, and future West Virginia folklife, folk and traditional arts, and cultural heritage.

It’s being hosted by the West Virginia and Regional History Center at West Virginia University Libraries.

Field research from which this collection draws focuses on the traditional and vernacular music, dance, crafts, foodways, and material culture of the people of West Virginia, from long settled to new immigrant communities. 

Highlights and collections include materials documenting the foodways and community celebrations of the Randolph County Swiss community of Helvetia, members of the Scotts Run Community Museum in Monongalia County, the 2018 West Virginia Teachers’ Strike, Summers County collector Jim Costa’s collection of 18th- and 19th-century farm tools and objects of rural life, and participants in the West Virginia Folklife Apprenticeship Program. o

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