Professionalization Resources

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Professional Organizations and Networks


The American Folklore Society (AFS):

The American Folklore Society, founded in 1888, is the professional association for folklorists. The Society produces publications, sponsors meetings, and resources to support their members’ work “to study, understand, and communicate about folklore.” Folklore students are encouraged to join the society. The society offers a discounted membership rate to graduate students and discounted rates for attendance at the society's annual meeting.


The Publore Listserv:

Publore is a valuable tool and communication link for the public folklore community. Issues of concern to public folklore, requests for information or assistance, job postings, and announcements of events, exhibits, and publications are available through Publore.

To join the listserv:

Go to The Publore Archive at
On the right-hand side under "Options," click "Subscribe or Unsubscribe.”  
Follow the rest of the instructions on the screen.


Organizations Located in the Greater Washington DC Area and Surrounding Region:


The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress

The American Folklife Center (AFC) is one of the largest archives of ethnographic material from the United States and abroad. The archive, established in 1928, documents the many expressions of human experience through extensive audiovisual materials. As part of its vision to “encourage diversity of expression and foster community participation in the collective creation of cultural memory” the AFC is involved in a lot more than stewarding their archives. The AFC creates and hosts public programs, supports training for fieldworkers and researchers, provides reference services, and continues to expand through its multi-formatted archive “that holds cultural documentation of lived human experience and meaning-making from around the world”.


The National Endowment for the Arts

“The National Endowment for the Arts is an independent federal agency that funds, promotes, and strengthens the creative capacity of our communities by providing all Americans with diverse opportunities for arts participation.”


National Endowment for the Humanities

“The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is an independent federal agency created in 1965. It is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States and its territories. Because democracy demands wisdom, NEH serves and strengthens our republic by promoting excellence in the humanities and conveying the lessons of history to all Americans. The Endowment accomplishes this mission by awarding grants for top-rated proposals examined by panels of independent, external reviewers. NEH grants typically go to cultural institutions, such as museums, archives, libraries, colleges, universities, public television, and radio stations, and to individual scholars.”


The Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage

“The Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage is a research and educational unit of the Smithsonian Institution that produces the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, exhibitions, documentary films and videos, symposia, publications, and educational materials.”


The Virginia Folklife Program

“The Virginia Folklife Program is the state center for the documentation, presentation, support, and celebration of Virginia’s rich cultural heritage. Whether sung or told, hand-crafted or performed, Virginia’s rich folklife refers to those “arts of everyday life” that reflect a sense of traditional knowledge and connection to community. Virginia’s folkways are rich with traditions that have been rooted in the Commonwealth for centuries, as well as those that more recently have been carried here and nourished by Virginia’s diverse immigrant communities.”


Maryland Traditions

“Maryland Traditions, the state’s traditional arts program, identifies, documents, supports, and presents traditional arts. Activities [of the organization] include grants to organizations and individuals, festivals and other events, direct outreach to artists, and archival activities to support community-based living cultural traditions handed down by example or word of mouth” 

Local Learning

“Local Learning began as the National Task Force for Folk Arts in Education during a 1993 national roundtable at the National Endowment for the Arts. Today, we serve a network of hundreds of people interested in engaging young people and citizens with their own traditional culture and with the local culture and folklore of their families, regions, and the larger world. We are folklorists, folk artists, and educators of many stripes. We work in public agencies, nonprofit organizations, schools, universities, museums, community centers, libraries, and out-of-school education settings.” 

Sandy Spring Museum

Sandy Spring Museum was founded in 1981 by the local community in Sandy Spring, Maryland. The museum works to preserve the community’s history through various exhibits and programs. They often have opportunities for folklorists to come and work at the museum. 


National Council for Traditional Arts

“The National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the presentation and documentation of folk and traditional arts in the United States. Founded in 1933, it is the nation’s oldest producing and presenting organization with such a focus. Its programs celebrate and honor deeply rooted cultural expressions—music, dance, crafts, rituals and stories passed on through time in families, communities, and tribal, ethnic, regional and occupational groups.” 

Mid-Atlantic Arts 

“Created in 1979, Mid Atlantic Arts supports artists, presenters, and organizations through unique programming, grant support, partnerships, and information sharing. Created in 1979, Mid Atlantic Arts is aligned with the region’s state arts councils and the National Endowment for the Arts. We combine state and federal funding with private support from corporations, foundations, and individuals to nurture diverse artistic expression while connecting people to meaningful arts experiences within our region and beyond.” 


Job Search Resources 

The American Folklore Society Career Center 

One of the many resources for folklorists on the American Folklore Society’s website is their career center. The webpage features a portal where you can receive general career advice, job coaching, or have someone review your resume. The webpage also has a section where you can view listings for both full time and contracted jobs that are relevant to the field 

George Mason Resources: 

University Career Services:

Handshake (Job Bank): 

University Diversity Resources:


Job Search Resources for the Arts and Culture Sector PDF