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The American Folklife Center
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 home >> about the center >> folklife in your state >> massachusetts
Immigration Pier, New Bedford.
Immigration Pier, New Bedford. Photo by Nelson Wood, courtesy New Bedford Whaling Museum. Part of the cultural documentation found in Massachusetts's Local Legacies projects.


The collections of the American Folklife Center contain rich and varied materials from Massachusetts that document the diversity of the state's folk traditions. Among its unique recordings are folk music dating from the 1930s to the present, including Anglo-American ballads, shanties, and African Methodist Episcopal religious services. In 1982, the Center's Ethnic Heritage and Language Schools Project documented a Polish school in Taunton. From 1987 to 1988, the Center conducted the Lowell Folklife Project, which documented the city's many ethnic communities. The photographs, recordings, and transcripts created during this project include material on the Cambodian, Greek, French, Irish, Portuguese, Puerto Rican, and Vietnamese American communities.


Finding Aid: View a complete list of our Massachusetts collections.

Local Legacies: This project provides a "snapshot" of local culture as it was expressed in the year 2000. View Massachusetts Local Legacies projects.

Veterans History Project: Browse state collections from the Veterans History Project.

Songs of America: Browse an interactive state map for selected songs from the American Folklife Center’s collections, as well as songs from the Library’s Music Division and Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division.

Field Research Projects

Lowell Folklife Project: 1978-88. [catalog record] [finding aid]

Ethnic Heritage and Language Schools Project: Armenian school in Watertown and Portuguese in Taunton, 1982. [catalog record] [finding aid]

Additional Resources

Educational Resources: View a list of educational materials related to Massachusetts from A Teacher's Guide to Folklife Resources.

Folklife Resources: Find state folklife-related agencies, societies, archives, higher education programs, and more, in Folklife Sourcebook: A Directory of Folklife Resources in the United States.

Publications: "The Official Portuguese School of the Taunton Sports Club," Ethnic Heritage and Language Schools in America. [catalog record]

"Report to the Lowell Historic Preservation Commission on the Lowell Folklife Project." [available in Folklife Reading Room]


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   May 15, 2015
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