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Who We Are

The Maine Folklife Center’s (MFC) mission is to research, teach about, preserve, publish, provide public programming, and engage communities in the vernacular arts and culture of Maine and the Maritime Provinces.

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The internationally-recognized Maine Folklife Center at the University of Maine leads Maine in conducting and providing stewardship to Maine’s folklore and oral history research. The mission of the Center is to enhance understanding of the folklife, folklore, and history of Maine and Atlantic Canada, to encourage appreciation of the diverse cultures and heritage of the region, and thereby to strengthen and enrich our communities.  As such, the Center is a valuable part of the University’s research and public service programs. To fulfill our mission we collect—primarily through the use of recorded interviews—preserve, study, and disseminate information about the region’s history and traditional cultures.



The Maine Folklife Center staff conducts research that documents Maine traditional culture and provides research opportunities for researchers and the public.  The Center is a platform from which field studies are launched—usually with the aid of outside funding from grants.  Much work has been done over the years in many small and large oral history and folklore fieldwork projects.

American Folk Festival

The Maine Folklife Center conducts research and public programming with the annual American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront.  Specifically, the center produces the Folk and Traditional Arts area of the festival.  Check out the website of the American Folk Festival to learn more.


The Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History contains over 3,000 accessions of audio recordings and transcripts and 10,000 photographs.  The archive provides leadership to other organizations in the state in the preservation of audio materials, in the curation of digital materials, and serves the region as the repository for oral history and folklore audio recordings. The archives manager is currently working to digitize the collection as part of a collaborative effort between the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress and the University of Maine.

Community Engagement

The Center is a facility for students, scholars, and the general public.  The Maine Folklife Center continues to provide expertise to communities that aid communities for promotional and economic development activities.  The center also maintains the Maine Song and Story Sampler, creates digital exhibits, is active in promoting folklife events via facebook, and is always preparing for future public programming.


The Maine Folklife Center offers courses in folklore and oral history, Native American folklore, folklore of Maine and regional folklore. See the link “course” above for more details.


The Center publishes the Maine Folklife Newsletter which is sent to members twice a year.  They also publish Northeast Folklore, an annual monograph series that is sent to members and also sold to the public through the Center’s online marketplace, book sellers and other retailers.  The Center occasionally publishes other publications as well, such as British Ballads From Maine and Northeast Folklore: Essays in Honor of Edward D. Ives.  


The Center is open to the public by appointment only Monday-Friday, 8:30 am-4:00 pm.