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Welcome to Maine Folklife Center

Are you interested in the vernacular arts and culture of Maine and the Maritime Provinces?  Then this is the place for you!  Through its over 50 year history, the Maine Folklife Center (MFC) has been the main state repository for folklore and oral history projects.  Our collection covers many fascinating areas of people’s history, identity, and lives in the Maine and the Maritime Provinces.  Interested in logging, lumbering, fishing, or mill work?  We’ve got that.  Interested in traditional food, music, or art?  Got that too.  What about Wabanaki culture?  Got it.  Ditto with information on community histories, legends, women’s experiences, Maine’s multi-ethnic culture, labor history, tourism, hunting, and many others.  In fact, if your ancestors are from Maine, we may even have an interview with them on file.

You can check us out online (here or at our Digital Commons site), come in and visit us in person, or attend one of our public events like the Folk and Traditional Arts section of the American Folk Festival.  Or do all three!

***The Archives are closed during the month of July.***


Just for fun:

Hear our founder, Edward D. “Sandy” Ives, sing or order his CD “Folk Songs of Maine” on the Smithsonian Folkways website.


Penobscot Language Dictionary

View the National Endowment for the Humanities press release of the project.

The Maine Folklife Center is proud to announce that it is part of a three year project in partnership with the Penobscot Nation and American Philosophical Society (APS) “to create a comprehensive printed version of the Penobscot Dictionary, complete with an English index and searchable online database.”

The UMain press release states: “The project, which was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities grant of $339,411, aims to provide resources and linguistic training to the Penobscot Nation’s language revitalization community, which aims to keep the language alive and in use, through the creation of the language’s first published comprehensive dictionary.

“I think it is important for the university to reach out to communities, aiding their cultural efforts, and in particular to the Penobscots, who are our neighbors,” Pauleena MacDougall, director of the Maine Folklife Center and faculty associate in anthropology at UMaine, says. …

Co-principal investigators MacDougall and Conor Quinn, a linguist who earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2006, and a project advisory committee will oversee the compilation and implementation of the dictionary. MacDougall and Quinn … have extensive backgrounds working with the Penobscot language. …

“It’s going to be a constant interaction,” MacDougall says. “We’re going to be meeting with the Penobscots regularly and hopefully provide them with resources for their language program as we prepare the dictionary for publication.” …

The project, which will take place from September 2013 through August 2016, will start by archiving the original dictionary in database form and providing linguistic training. By the second year, researchers hope to edit and add entries, continue training and user-test the database. By the third year, the group hopes to have a final version of the dictionary ready for printing.

Read the full press release “In Their Words” by Elyse Kahl.

We also thought we’d use this opportunity to share links to two very informative website about endangered languages: and


Digital Commons

We hope you will check out our new publications and exhibits website: Digital Commons.  We’ve migrated the Maine Song and Story Sampler to UMaine’s Digitial Commons website.  Though still available on this website, we think you will enjoy the Maine and Story Sampler on the Digital Commons site even better.  It has an attractive design and is very easy to use.  You can search the sampler with keywords or browse through it by song or story title, artist, or collector.  We are also putting some of Dr. MacDougall’s publications on the Digital Commons site, like her newest article, “Oral History, Working Class Culture, and Local Control: A Case Study from Brewer, Maine.”

DigitalCommons at UMaine provides access to the scholarly, educational, and creative works of the University of Maine community. It is coordinated by Raymond H. Fogler Library and is supported by the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost, the College of Education and Human Development, the Honors College, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the Division of Lifelong Learning.



Though we are not a professional digitizing company, we are available to consult with other organizations who are interested in digitizing their collections as well as assist private individuals who want CD copies of their music collections (reel-to-reel, audio cassette) made.

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