The Archive of Folk Culture was founded at the U.S. Library of Congress in 1928 (originally as the Archive of American Folk Song) as a repository for American folk music. The Archive of Folk Culture became part of the American Folklife Center in 1978. Today, its multi-format, ethnographic collections are diverse and international, including over one million photographs, manuscripts, audio recordings, and moving images. It is America's first national archive of traditional life, and one of the oldest and largest of such repositories in the world.
All of the images, sounds, written accounts, and a myriad more items of cultural documentation await researchers at the Archive of Folk Culture, where more than 4,000 collections, assembled over the years from "many workers" embody the very heart and soul of the national traditional life and the cultural life of communities from many regions of the world.
The collections in the Archive of Folk Culture include folk cultural material from all fifty states, as well as United States trusts, territories, and the District of Columbia. Most of these areas have been served by the American Folklife Center's cultural surveys, equipment loan program, publications, and other projects.