About the Maine Folklife Center

Since 1992, the Maine Folklife Center has played a leading role in documenting, preserving and sharing the rich cultural heritage of our region. In fact, the roots of the Center are even deeper, planted in the late 1950s by its founder, the late Edward “Sandy” Ives, a leading scholar on the folkways, folklore and folksongs of the Northern Forest region and the Maritimes. You can read more about Sandy and his impressive body of work here.

Today the Center continues its work on the issues, people and stories that define northern New England’s farming, fishing, and forest communities, even as these communities undergo rapid and profound change. The work we do helps to give voice to those often left out of conversations about the future of our region, while also honoring their invaluable cultural heritage.

We invite you to learn more about who we are and what we do, and to explore the rich collection of ethnographic and historical material we have gathered over the years. This material is held in the Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History, now found in the Fogler Library Special Collections at the University of Maine in Orono. The Folklife Center, which was the original home of these materials, maintains a special relationship with them, and our website provides a useful gateway to the Archives.

Whatever your interest, whether tracking down a long-lost family interview, finding materials for a research or media project, or learning how to do oral history or ethnographic research on your own, we can help. You can check out our collections online (here or at our Digital Commons site), come and visit us in person, or attend one of our public events. And if you need information that you can’t find here, or want to help us with our work, please let us know. We look forward to hearing from you!

Folk Songs of Maine

Hear our founder Edward D. “Sandy”album cover for 'folk songs of maine' Ives sing, or order his CD Folk Songs of Maine, on the Smithsonian Folkways website.

Support Our Work

The Maine Folklife Center is able to provide its services with the help of your generous support.


Maine Folklife Center Closed for Renovations – Summer 2017

The Maine Folklife Center is currently closed for a major space renovation project. It will reopen to the public in September, with a much-needed facelift including new paint, carpeting, ceiling tiles, LED lighting, and furnishings.

Major funding for this project comes from the Office of the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs & Provost’s “Paint & Polish Program,” as well as the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. It will include creation of a new “Smart Classroom,” a media training and production center, and new space for the University of Maine Humanities Center.

As part of a new orientation of the Folklife Center’s mission, and to improve public access, the Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History have been permanently moved to Raymond H. Fogler Library Special Collections Department. For more information on using the Archives, please contact Katrina Wynn or Special Collections directly. 

We are excited about this project and look forward to sharing our new facilities with the public this fall. Stay tuned for more updates!