Kentucky River Folklife Project
Subjects:African American, African American farmers., Anderson County (Ky.), Auctions., Banjo music., Bee culture, Basketmaking, Bourbon industry, Clark County (Ky.), Distilleries., Education., Estill County (Ky.), Farm., Farming, Fiddlers, Fishing., Festivals., Folk medicine, Foodways, Gardening., Garrard County (Ky.), Gospel music., Guitar music., Henry County (Ky.), Hydroelectric power plants., Integration, Segregation., Jessamine County (Ky.), Lee County (Ky.), Locks and Dams, Mercer County (Ky.), Madison County (Ky.), Music., Potters, Pleasant Hill (Ky.), Carroll County (Ky.), Franklin County (Ky.), Quilts., Quilting., Quiltmakers., Owen County (Ky.), Powell County (Ky.), Rockcastle County (Ky.), Riverboats, Rural life, Spinning., Steamboats., Teachers, Teaching., Trapping., Tobacco, Woodford County (Ky.), Woodcarvers
In conjunction with the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kentucky Historical Society, the Kentucky Heritage Council, the Kentucky Oral History Commission, Berea College, the Department for Libraries and Archives, and the Appalachian Museum, the Kentucky Folklife Program conducted oral histories of folklife along the Kentucky River throughout the summer of 1989. The Kentucky River Survey is a model project for the Kentucky Folklife Program. Both information generated and the methodology developed from the project was used for future surveys including a major investigation of the Ohio River Valley conducted in 1990.
The results of the Kentucky River Folklife Project were presented to the public in two formats; a traveling exhibit and narrative stage presentations. The exhibit was made available initially to town halls and libraries in counties along the Kentucky River, and then traveled across the state through the “Museums to Go” program of the Kentucky Historical Society. The narrative stage presentations presented local folklife informants to audiences in an interview/mini festival setting.
The survey employed three folklorists as well as three student trainees. The fieldwork methodology was based on that designed by the American Folklife Center’s regional studies using photographic and oral history techniques to describe the historical context, function, and performance of living folklife traditions in the region.
Counties documented in the survey include Anderson, Carroll, Clark, Estill, Franklin, Garrard, Henry, Jessamine, Lee, Madison, Mercer, Owen, Powell, Rockcastle, and Woodford.