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Allen County Folklife and Oral History Project

Allen County Folklife and Oral History Project


Allen County

Dr. Williams, Dr. Brady and members of the Student Advance Team



In July of 2010, Barbara Deeb, Public Affairs Producer / Host of the Department of Educational Telecommunications notified Erika Brady of the Laura Goad Turner Charitable Foundation's interest in involving Western Kentucky University in a project already in progress, to document the oral history of Scottsville and Allen County. A team from the Newseum in Washington, D.C. has already made several visits to Scottsville, meeting with the Turner family and members of the community, and researching local history. The result of the Newseum effort is a comprehensive plan for permanent and changing multimedia exhibits relating to Allen County, to be located at the newly dedicated Allen County Community Services building, part of the ten‐county agency Community Action of Southern Kentucky. Recognizing that Western has significant resources to offer such a project, Deeb arranged a meeting between Erika Brady, professor of Folk Studies, and Alex Downing, president of the WKU Foundation. This brief meeting confirmed that both the Department of Educational Telecommunications and the Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology have expertise that would be valuable in developing ongoing programs based on further documentation of Allen County oral history and folklife to be undertaken by WKU students and staff.



The Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology at Western Kentucky University has built upon the work already accomplished by the Newseum team by undertaking a major ethnographic fieldwork project based in Allen County. Using recorded interviews, photography, and videography, and staffed by WKU faculty and trained graduate students, the project documents a broad range of historical and cultural themes, identifying the elements that make community life in the region unique, including the rich and diverse music, religious life, social gatherings, and patterns for formal and informal commerce. The result is a comprehensive body of material located at the Community Action center in Scottsville, as well as the Kentucky Library and Museum at Western Kentucky University. The materials have been collected according to professional archival standards, so that the product will be available to scholars as well as residents of Allen County long into the future, for use in educational and other forms of community support. We not only hope to receive support from the community, but also active collaboration, so that once the WKU project is complete, the initiative will continue under community leadership. To this end, the Kentucky Folklife Program at WKU is working with the Kentucky Arts Council to train local citizens as community scholars.

The Allen County Folklife and Oral History Project was made possible by a generous grant from the Laura Goad Turner Charitable Foundation.

 For more information visit the Allen County Folklife and Oral History Project website.

*The information provided here is from the resource manual that was developed by the Project Advance Team (Katherine, Janice, Rachel, and Sarah).  


Erika Brady: Project Director
Michael Ann Williams: Associate Project Director
Tim Evans: Public Folklore Advisor
Caitlin Coad: Assistant Project Coordinator
Barbara Deeb: Media Advisor
Douglas Boyd: Project Advisor
Sarah Milligan: Project Advisor

Student Advance Team:
Katherine Chappell
Janice Crane
Rachel Hopkin
Sarah McCartt‐Jackson


Professor Erika Brady
Western Kentucky University
1906 College Heights Boulevard, #61029
Bowling Green, KY 42101‐1029
Office phone:  270‐745‐5902
Cell phone:  270‐784‐8659
Fax:    270‐745‐6889

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 Last Modified 9/24/14