The artifacts and collections in the Folklife Center’s care embody West Virginia’s cultural heritage and are regularly used in classes and public programs and exhibitions. The Folklife Center welcomes donations of artifacts that support its mission and will help interpret West Virginia Folklife, such as oral histories and folklore, family memorabilia, journals, letters, photographs, heritage artifacts, and other materials.
Ruth Ann Musick was the archivist for the West Virginia Folklore Society and editor of West Virginia Folklore Journal (published at Fairmont State) throughout the latter half of the twentieth century. The West Virginia folktale collections she published include The Telltale Lilac Bush, Green Hills of Magic, and Coffin Hollow. Dr. Musick bequeathed to Fairmont State her folklore estate for academic study, programming, and publications.
Traditional musician Patty Looman’s archives include several hundred books on the subject of traditional regional music, along with songbooks, how-to-play books, and various historical works. Hundreds of recordings on cassette tapes (to be transferred to digital media) of traditional music include both recordings made by Patty during jam sessions and commercial recordings. A significant part of the collection consists of Patty’s “tabbed” (written down on paper in musical notation) versions of tunes originally learned by ear, in the traditional way.
The attached Finding Aid provides a detailed listing of this collection’s items.
The James H. and Phyllis Wilson Moore literary special collection are primarily focused on topics related to West Virginia and native West Virginia authors. The collection includes over two thousand books (forming a significant part of the Folklife Center’s non-circulating library), one thousand author files, over a thousand pieces of correspondence, five hundred author photographs, and several hundred related posters, audio, and video resources.
Additional artifacts include, among others: printed ephemera, tools and implements, furniture, uniforms and folk costumes, Fairmont State historic photographs and memorabilia, mining artifacts, musical instruments, folk arts.