Today’s folklore on display


    By Edmund Smith

    One of BYU”s hidden treasures lies in the L. Tom Perry Special Collections of the Herald B. Lee library in an exhibit entitled “Folklore: Illuminating Then and Now.”

    The exhibit is a part of a folklore celebration promoting awareness of folklore and honoring William A. Wilson the founder of BYU folklore archives and recipient of various awards.

    Wilson brought the boxed archives from his office to a well-developed display for the benefit of students and researchers of folklore.

    “People tend to have a misconception of what folklore really is,” said Kristi Bell, curator for the William A. Wilson Folklore Archives.

    Folklore is a term that most people associate with the past, Bell said. What they don”t realize is that it is a part of our everyday life.

    Bell said folklore can include everything from family traditions, to the very clothes you are wearing.

    The collection features different folklore exhibits put together and collected by BYU students, professors and private individuals.

    One display based on a project entitled, “Locker Decoration: Examining Fine High School Folklore,” features a scene from Orem High School. The exhibit includes a picture of a boy and a girl in the school hall, a student”s locker with posters plastered on the door, and creative ways to ask peers on dates.

    The exhibit is designed to show that folklore truly is a part of everyday life and the decorations of each locker define each student.

    “I think it”s the fact that it is so close to people”s everyday life,” said Elaine Thatcher, a folklore enthusiast. “To me that [folklore] is the most real level of any kind of interaction in daily life and community. That”s probably what excites me the most.”

    Another exhibit, designed to look like a kitchen in a home, features a family”s refrigerator. The door is covered with magnets, important notes and pictures. These are the things most important to the family, therefore it is what defines the family, or in other words lore, Bell said.

    Catherine Fox Horman”s project entitled, “An Enduring Tradition: Nana”a Veil” makes up another exhibit. The wedding veil has been used by all of Horman”s extended family, and the tradition continues. In fact the veil will be pulled from the display early for a family wedding at the end of the month.

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