How are people sharing large archival and special collections? The Maine Folklife Center at the University of Maine, in line with its mission to “encourage appreciation of the diverse cultures and heritage of the region,” chose to curate their extensive folklore collection by hand picking a unique selection of 53 stories and songs that represent the geographic, cultural, and demographic diversity of the state.
To underscore this, the collection includes an embedded map that dynamically displays the geographic origins of each record, allowing Mainers to find content relevant to their community and culture. In addition to a gallery of streaming story and song recordings from all over the state, a separate series houses curriculum guides for K-12 educators that wish to use the content in their lesson plans. On the lighter side, the collection includes some delightful pieces such as “Jag har en vän” (“I have a friend,” a Swedish pietistic hymn from 1895), a remembrance of the Auto Rest Park (an early entertainment venue in the state), and the song “Bye-Bye Longjohns!” (“a musical representation of how most Mainers feel by the time March rolls around”). They continue to add items on a weekly basis, carefully choosing each new item from among thousands so that there continues to be growing information about the collection and context to each material, making it accessible to researchers and curious community members alike.
For more on how unique collections are being accommodated, see the following: