Folklore Archives



Warren Roberts Collection


New Frontiers Grant

The Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, in conjunction with the University Archives, received support from Indiana University's New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities Program to create a virtual outdoor museum and companion Web site based on archived materials from the field collections of Professor Warren E. Roberts, the leading authority on the traditional culture—the folkways and folklife—of rural south-central Indiana, and his students.

We have created the Warren E. Roberts Museum of Early Indiana Life drawing on plans carefully sketched by Professor Warren Roberts but never realized due to a lack of sufficient funding. There is an aura of just restitution in this plan, as a partial realization of a worthy but forestalled vision, but our purpose goes much further than that—we intended to create a unique resource for exploring in close detail the transformation of the rural Indiana landscape during the pivotal decades of the 1970s and 1980s. It was this rural and tradition-informed way of life that attracted Roberts and IU graduate students under his supervision, and they produced a comprehensive ethnographic record of this region in transition, now comprising a major collection in the Folklore Archives. Making use of field journals, audio tapes, photographs and slides, sketches and descriptions of buildings, correspondence, interview transcripts, newspaper clippings, and published and unpublished academic manuscripts, the website brings to life, albeit in virtual form, the outdoor museum that Roberts and his students envisioned.

Visit the Virtual Outdoor Museum



Warren Roberts with John McDowell, in Brown County



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