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Discovery Research Collection

Identifier: MF161

Scope and Contents

The collection is comprised of 6 archive boxes full of notes, recordings, photos, videos, CD ROMs and computer databases, collected between 1995 and 2007. Some of these materials are unlabeled and will require some research to identify the contents.

700 photos, some digital but most are not
200 slides, not scanned
75 hours of cassette tapes
25 hours of minidisc tape


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1995-2007

Conditions Governing Access

For digitized items free from access restrictions, we are working to upload this material (pdfs, mp3s, jpgs) for public access, but it is an ongoing project. If you don’t find what you are looking for here, contact Special Collections (

Conditions Governing Use

Rights assessment remains the responsibility of the researcher. No known restrictions on material.


6 boxes

15 items (digital)

Language of Materials



The raw materials of these Discovery Research projects represent snapshots of local cultural assets and tradition bearers in the 1990s and the first decade of the 21st century. From these databases and notes, researches can locate local tradition bearers and artists and find information about those artists and tradition bearers. The materials cover 60-70 percent of the state, and so constitute a broad cultural picture and cultural map of Maine in the rough. This data can be invaluable to current and future researchers seeking information about the nature and scope of traditional activities. For example, included in some of these materials are photographs, recordings, and information about one of the last people in the St. John Valley who knew how to make exquisite braided rag rugs from random woolen strips, recordings of Native American singing, information about the construction of river driving bateaux no longer used to guide logs down the river, Jewish and Greek communities in Saco and Biddeford, ME, and others. Making these materials available to researchers will make possible new lines of inquiry and stimulate research that will lead to a fuller understanding of Maine’s culture and cultural assets. That understanding can be focused on pure scholarship, or used in practical pursuits such as cultural tourism. The materials, once accessible, can also be used by classroom teachers to enhance their students’ understanding of Maine cultures, whether the topic is the history of Acadian and Quebecois workers who came to Maine looking for work in the mills, or Native American culture.

Collection Note

The Discovery Research program at the Maine Arts Commission began in the mid-1990s with three pilot projects, and by 2007 included more than 30 communities. The projects were designed to gather information about artists and cultural institutions in communities in order to best determine how to develop those resources and to raise the awareness in local communities concerning cultural resources close at hand. The cultural inventories included descriptions of both contemporary as well as traditional artists, as well as local cultural institutions such as singing clubs, libraries, historical societies, ethnic organizations, and others. In many cases these inventories were developed into local cultural directories that could be used to identify and find artists and cultural resources, and many include essays outlining the cultural history of the community. At least one contains brief biographies of local tradition bearers. As the project moved into the 21st century local Discovery Research projects began developing electronic databases and websites to access those databases. In some cases these websites replaced the earlier model of the printed directory.

As part of the Discovery Research process, folklorists were hired to survey communities for traditional culture and traditional artists. These fieldworkers generated notes, taped interviews, and photographic documentation. The materials currently comprises seven archive boxes full of notes, recordings, photos, videos, CD ROMs and computer databases, collected between 1995 and 2007., which need to be assessed and catalogued in order to make them accessible to the public. In a number of cases, the subjects of these interviews are no longer living.

Guide to Discovery Research Collection
In Progress
Katrina Wynn
May 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History Repository

5729 Raymond H. Fogler Library
University of Maine
Orono ME 04469-5729 United States