A close up of a woman is sitting working at a loom. She is wearing an embroidered shirt and red bead necklaces. Two women can be seen talking in the background. The loom is large and stands upright. Photo by Sally Van de Water.

Mid Atlantic Folk Arts Outreach Project funded an embroiders exchange hosted by the New York Folklore Society. Artists, Eniko Farkas of New York and Vera Nakonechny of Pennsylvania, accompanied by folklorist Amy Skillman, met in Ithaca, New York to focus on the needle arts of Hungary and the Ukraine. The artists shared their work with other needle artists and presented a display of their work. Photo: Sally Van de Water.

Mid Atlantic Folk Arts Centers


Delaware Division of the Arts
Dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts to enhance the quality of life for all Delawareans. In addition to providing funding for arts programming, the Division supports the integration of the arts into community life and serves as a resource for arts information statewide.

District of Columbia

D.C. Commission on Arts and Humanities
The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) provides grants, professional opportunities, education enrichment, other programs and services to individuals and nonprofit organizations in all communities within the District of Columbia.

The Folklore Society of Greater Washington
Furthering the understanding, appreciation, and performance of traditional folk music and folklore.


Maryland Folklife Program & Maryland Traditions / Maryland State Arts Council
The Maryland Folklife Program serves the people of the State through research, documentation, and programming about Maryland’s traditional arts and culture. Maryland Traditions supports research, program development, and presentation at Maryland institutions including Frostburg State University and the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art (Salisbury).

New Jersey

New Jersey State Council on the Arts
The New Jersey State Council on the Arts workes to improve the quality of life in New Jersey by helping the arts to flourish.

Down Jersey Folklife Center at Wheaton Village
Research, document, interpret, and present the traditional cultures of the “Down Jersey” region of the state, which includes Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, and Salem counties and parts of Ocean and Gloucester counties. The Center seeks to create a higher awareness of community diversity, to increase public knowledge of, and to foster appreciation and respect for the folk arts and folklife. Our method is to support communication through the languages of the traditional arts, and to invite a wide variety of artists and audiences to participate in an ongoing exploration of the creative process.

Jersey Shore Folklife Center at Tuckerton Seaport
Document, support, and present the varied traditions of the communities along the Jersey coastline between Monmouth County and Salem County, as well as those in the Pinelands region, which has been integral to coastal culture. The JSFP carries out field research among old and new groups, documents their traditional life on tape and film, and creates programs that include workshops and demonstrations, storytelling sessions, school programs, and exhibits.

Northeast New Jersey Folk Arts Program Park Performing Arts Center
Presents a wide range of artistic traditions from Hudson, Bergen, Essex, Passaic and Union County; strives to build relationships with artists by developing opportunities for them to share their art forms with wider audiences. Also seeks to create programming that enables the general public to appreciate the many different art forms that exist within the region.

Northwest Jersey Folklife Project
Dedicated to supporting traditional and community cultures in Sussex, Warren, and Hunterdon counties and parts of Morris, Somerset, and Mercer counties by working with communities to identify, research, record and archive their folk arts and folklife: maintain a regional folk archival and educational center; disseminate data to the community at large to encourage intercultural sharing; foster integration of traditional arts and skills in mainstream programming; and promote the cooperation and involvement of other cultural agencies in this endeavor.

New York

New York State Council on the Arts
Founded in 1985, the program is devoted to perpetuating New York State’s living cultural heritage of folk arts and maintaining the extraordinary cultural and stylistic diversity of New York’s traditional arts. It provides funding for over 70 nonprofit organizations each year. Its primary mission is to support traditions practiced within communities. The Program also supports programming that enables general audiences to experience traditional arts from New York State as well as from cultures elsewhere in the world.

Center for Traditional Music and Dance
The Center works to celebrate and strengthen the practice of traditional performing arts. Since its founding in 1966, the Center has produced over 800 major presentations. Programs include concerts, festivals, audio and video productions, concert tours, technical assistance, collaborative projects and consultations with artists, cultural activists and with educational and cultural institutions.

City Lore
Founded in 1986, City Lore produces programs and publications that convey the richness of New York City’s cultural heritage. The staff includes folklorists, historians, anthropologists, and ethnomusicologists, all of whom specialize in the creation of programs and materials for public education and enjoyment. In addition to staff projects, affiliated individuals and organizations work through City Lore to produce independent films, exhibits, and other media projects.

Long Island Traditions
Dedicated to documenting and preserving the living cultural traditions of Long Island’s ethnic, occupational and architectural heritage.

Traditional Arts of Upstate New York
TAUNY is dedicated to documenting, preserving and promoting the folk arts and folklore of New York’s North Country from the St. Lawrence River to the Adirondack Mountains.


Philadelphia Folklore Project
Focus is on the experiences and traditions of “ordinary” people. The organization works to sustain the diverse folk arts of the greater Philadelphia region.

The Rivers of Steel Industry Heritage Corporation
Conserve, interpret, promote and manage the historic, cultural, natural and recreational resources of steel and related industries in southwestern Pennsylvania and develop uses for these resources so they may contribute to the economic revitalization of the region.

Erie Art Museum
Museum’s goal is to expand awareness and participation of the folk and traditional arts within the Northwestern Pennsylvania. A primary goal is to identify traditional artists in the greater Erie community and link them with existing local arts programming and grant opportunities.

Northern Tier Cultural Alliance
Educate the public about cultural traditions, history and art of Pennsylvania’s Northern Tier and assist tradition bearers and traditional artists in the preservation of their work.

Virgin Islands

Virgin Island Council on the Arts
The council’s mission is “To enrich the cultural life of the Virgin Islands through leadership that preserves, supports, strengthens, and makes accessible, excellence in the arts to all Virgin Islanders”.


Arlington County Cultural Affairs Division, Office of Heritage Arts
Serves as the County’s resource point for folk and traditional artists, folklife researchers and community members. It divides its efforts into three overlapping spheres: festivals, concerts & community events; fieldwork & documentation; artist and community services.

Virginia Folklife Program, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities
Documents the diverse folk traditions of Virginia while advancing the understanding and appreciation of traditional culture through the development of public programs; reinforces folk traditions by honoring and providing support services for traditional artists and performers; and helps communities develop plans and projects to strengthen their own cultural traditions. Only folklife program in the nation based with a state humanities council.

Blue Ridge Institute and Museum
Ferrum College’s Blue Ridge Institute and Museum documents, interprets and presents the traditional culture of the Blue Ridge and its people. Designated the State Center for Blue Ridge Folklore by the Virginia General Assembly 1986, the institute promotes an understanding of regional folklore past and present for all ages.

West Virginia

Augusta Heritage Center
Encourage wider understanding and practice of artistic expression found in local, regional, and ethnic traditional folk cultures. Document, promote, encourage, and nurture West Virginia’s folklife and folkways through workshops, apprenticeships, publications and public presentations.

West Virginia Division of Culture and History
Support the documentation and presentation of West Virginia’s folk and traditional arts. West Virginia folk arts are described as those creative expressions that are learned and passed down within families, ethnic or tribal groups, occupational groups, religions, local and regional communities, or age or gender groups. They include such forms as music, dance, songs, stories, jokes, games, crafts, beliefs, occupational skills, celebrations and rituals.

West Virginia Folklife Center, Fairmont State College
Dedicated to the identification, preservation, and perpetuation of the region’s rich cultural heritage through academic studies, educational programs, festivals and performances, and publications.


American Folklife Center, Library of Congress
Created in 1976 by the U.S. Congress to “preserve and present” American folklife through programs of research, documentation, archival preservation, reference service, live performance, exhibition, publication, and training.

American Folklore Society
Professional association for folklorists founded in 1888.

Center for Folklore Studies at The Ohio State University
The Center supports the learning, teaching, research, and service endeavors of folklorists and students of folklore.

National Council for the Traditional Arts
Founded in 1933, dedicated to the presentation and documentation of folk and traditional arts in the United States. It is the nation’s oldest producing and presenting organization with such a focus.

National Endowment for the Arts, Folk and Traditional Arts Program
The National Endowment for the Arts enriches our Nation and its diverse cultural heritage by supporting works of artistic excellence, advancing learning in the arts, and strengthening the arts in communities throughout the country.

Smithsonian Institution Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
The Center is a research and educational unit of the Smithsonian Institution promoting the understanding and continuity of diverse, contemporary grassroots cultures in the United States and around the world.

Folklore Associations & Societies

Professional Organizations / National & Regional

American Folklore Society
Founded in 1888, an association of people who communicate knowledge about folklore throughout the world. The 2,200 members and subscribers are scholars, teachers, and libraries at colleges and universities; professionals in arts and cultural organizations; and community members involved in folklore work.

Middle Atlantic Folklife Association
Association supports folklorists and others concerned with traditional folk culture in the mid-Atlantic region. The association serves Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Folklore Societies / States & Jurisdictions

Folklore Society of Greater Washington
Furthers the understanding, investigation, appreciation, and performance of the traditional folk music and folklore of the American people.

Folklore Society of Northeastern Pennsylvania
Promotes traditional music, dance, and storytelling in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

New York Folklore Society
Fosters the study, promotion, and continuation of folklore and folklife of New York’s diverse cultures through education, advocacy, support, and outreach.

Virginia Folklore Society
Dedicated to the discovery, collection, publication, and preservation of folklore and traditional culture in Virginia by furthering the understanding, appreciation, and performance of the traditional arts and crafts of the State.

Folklore Education Programs

For a complete listing of education programs in folklore in the United States and Canada with links, please visit the wiki at:



Pennsylvania State University (Harrisburg), American Studies Program
The program emphasizes the interdisciplinary study of American society and culture. It provides the student with the opportunity to acquire knowledge in the fields of history, literature, media, material culture, musicology, folklore, art, architecture, music, and to study the interrelationships linking those fields with important questions and issues in American life.


University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia), Graduate Program in Folklore and Folklife
During the 30 years of its existence, the program has graduated more than 200 Ph.D.s in Folklore and Folklife. There are currently 40 students taking graduate courses or working on their dissertations in the program. In June 1999, the Center for Folklore and Ethnography was founded. Housed in Logan Hall along with the Graduate Program, the Center collaborates with other Penn initiatives such as the Humanities Forum and the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, in organizing symposia, networking with scholarly and community groups, and building resources toward training documentary and ethnographic skills. The Center and the Graduate Group are closely intertwined, with hopes for joint projects on the horizon.



George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Concentration in Folklore
Program enables students to explore the processes of tradition that move through multiple expressive forms, such as folktales, folk beliefs, folk medicine, folk art, folksong, and literature. A discipline based on ethnographic fieldwork, folklore offers students a chance to work in communities and collect living traditional materials that are critical to human identity and values.


West Virginia

Fairmont State College, Undergraduate Minor in Folklore
The study of folklore and folklife involves examination and analysis of traditional expressive culture in all its forms, including oral and material.


Continuing Education

American Folklife Center/Library of Congress, Field School
The Center sponsors at least one intensive, introductory field school on cultural documentation in partnership with an educational institution. Held in various parts of the United States, the field school provides hands-on training in ethnographic documentary techniques needed for effective fieldwork concerning folklore and related fields.