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News - Arts and Culture at MSU



MSU Museum director named to Library of Congress’ American Folklife Center trustee

MSU Museum

Friday, August 31, 2007

MSU Museum Director C. Kurt Dewhurst has been named to the Board of Trustees for the Library of Congress’ American Folklife Center.

The American Folklife Center (AFC) Board of Trustees is made up of representatives from departments and agencies of the federal government related to American folklife traditions and the arts, as well as folklife scholars and experts from across the country. Dewhurst is one of eight board members appointed by the U.S. Congress. The board works to review the operations of the Center, engage in long-range planning and policy formulation and share information on matters of cultural programming.

Folklife includes the songs we sing, the stories we tell and the crafts we make. The American Folklife Center was created in 1976 by the Congress to preserve and present the great heritage of American folklife through programs of research, documentation, archival preservation, reference services, live performance, exhibition publication and training.

The AFC includes one of the largest collections of ethnographic material from the United States and around the world, established in the Library of Congress in 1928. The collection in the center’s archive includes folk cultural material from all 50 states, as well as United States trusts, territories, the District of Columbia and many nations around the world.

Locally, WKAR-FM/AM listeners may be familiar with “StoryCorps,” an innovative oral history project that partners with both AFC and National Public Radio to preserve and present the oral histories they collect across America.

“Folklife is an integral part of all American lives and an essential part of the National Library,” said Peggy Bulger, director of the American Folklife Center. “The story of America is reflected in the cultural productions of ordinary people who live everyday lives, from cooking and eating meals, to the activities of work and play, to religious observances and seasonal celebration.”

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In addition to his duties as director of the MSU Museum, Dewhurst is a curator of folk arts at the MSU Museum and professor of English in MSU’s College of Arts & Letters, where he frequently teaches in the Museum Studies Program and leads MSU Study Abroad courses in curatorial practices and cultural heritage studies. He is also a senior fellow for University Outreach and Engagement at MSU, and is chairperson of MSU’s Cultural Engagement Council.

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