Students map Maine in story and song

Maine Song and Story SamplerA collaboration between a class taught by Still Water Co-Director Joline Blais and the Maine Folklife Center has resulted in a user-friendly way to survey the state’s rich heritage in story and song. The result shows how digital curation can make history and culture more accessible to a wide audience.

The interactive map is a product of a collaboration between Blais’ NMD 306 class, New Media Project Design Lab 2, and Pauleena MacDougall of the Maine Folklife Center, who also teaches in the Digital Curation graduate program. Click on a pin to read a brief description, view photographs, or even download audio or video recordings of traditional songs and stories.

The Sampler is a Maine Folklife Center project sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, and was recently showcased in the DC Telegraph as an example of “institutional repository and open access success”:

The Maine Folklife Center at the University of Maine, in line with its mission to “encourage appreciation of the diverse cultures and heritage of the region,” chose to curate their extensive folklore collection by hand picking a unique selection of 53 stories and songs that represent the geographic, cultural, and demographic diversity of the state.

To underscore this, the collection includes an embedded map that dynamically displays the geographic origins of each record, allowing Mainers to find content relevant to their community and culture. In addition to a gallery of streaming story and song recordings from all over the state, a separate series houses curriculum guides for K-12 educators that wish to use the content in their lesson plans. On the lighter side, the collection includes some delightful pieces such as “Jag har en vän” (“I have a friend,” a Swedish pietistic hymn from 1895), a remembrance of the Auto Rest Park (an early entertainment venue in the state), and the song “Bye-Bye Longjohns!” (“a musical representation of how most Mainers feel by the time March rolls around”). They continue to add items on a weekly basis.

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