Folklife Centers/Initiatives with a Strong Cultural Focus
American Folklife Center
Montana Heritage Project
The Montana Heritage Project is a high school writing program dedicated to teaching young people to think clearly and deeply about the world they face. Students explore their community – its cultural heritage (traditions, celebrations, literature, arts, economic practices, responses to crises, and everyday life); its relationship to the natural environment; and its place in national and world events. The website has excellent resources for teachers and students on how to implement heritage projects in their own communities.
Center for the Study of Midwestern Cultures
The Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures is committed to the languages and cultural traditions of this region's diverse peoples. It fosters research and the preservation of archival collections, produces educational and outreach programs for a broad public audience, and assists community groups, classrooms, and scholars with projects involving Upper Midwestern Cultures. Their website includes a number of resources for teachers. Check out one classroom’s year-long exploration of Dane County, Wisconsin and their Kids' Field Guide to Local Culture .
City Lore was founded in 1986 to produce programs and publications that convey the richness of New York City's cultural heritage. Projects include Cultural Arts Resources for Teachers and Students, Place Matters, and other initiatives designed to inspire a knowledge of and appreciation for the city.
Louisiana Voices is a pioneering online education guide that provides rich teaching resources on Louisiana folk and traditional arts and culture, while integrating the Louisiana Education Content Standards. The project provides frameworks for the study of culture and an academically sound basis for both multicultural and technology education. The interdisciplinary study of traditional arts and community-based research in classrooms validates students' heritages and traditions, while fostering critical inquiry skills, developing primary research skills, and relating curriculum and classroom to students' lives and communities. Students participate as experts on their own folk groups and cultural traditions.
City Lore and the Municipal Art Society sponsor this NYC initiative to identify, celebrate, interpret and protect places that tell the history and anchor the traditions of New York's many communities. Place Matters conducts and publishes a survey of places nominated by New Yorkers; presents public forums and workshops; produces maps and other publications; and conducts advocacy on behalf of threatened sites. The Place Matters mission is to foster the conservation of New York City's historically and culturally significant places.
Cultural Arts Resources for Teachers and Students (CARTS)
Carts is a project of City Lore, a cultural organization dedicated to the documentation, presentation, and preservation of New York City's -- and America's -- living cultural heritage. CARTS has over seventeen years of experience working in K-12 and undergraduate education. Education program includes staff development, artist training, in-school programs, instructional materials, the CARTS Culture Catalog, an annual newsletter, and an award-winning resource website. Local Learning, their national teacher institute program, provides training, resources, and mentoring for teachers around the country who are interested in using community-based resources in their teaching.
Vermont Folklife Center
The Vermont Folklife Center is dedicated to preserving and presenting the folk arts and cultural traditions of Vermont and the surrounding region. The center conducts field research, maintains a multimedia archive and offers an apprenticeship program. They offer trainings to teachers interested in conducting research with students in their community. Their website has an excellent link to regional and national folklife centers.