Fairmont State’s Folklife Center to host virtual storytelling event

FAIRMONT — The Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center at Fairmont State University will host a virtual event with Joe Valencic where he will discuss collecting family history on Monday, October 18 at 7 p.m. Throughout the program, Valencic will cover topics including how to interview family members, what questions to ask and how to make the most of online resources.

“Historical storytelling – especially stories that feature ‘home’ and ‘family’ – is a vital tradition in Appalachia and worldwide,” said Fairmont State University President, Mirta M. Martin. “I’m excited our community gets to learn about Joe’s experience collecting family histories and writing about them. Participants are bound to come away from this evening enthused to start their own family story-gathering projects, and continue that tradition so vital to our region.”

Joe Valencic is a founding trustee of the Polka Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. Valencic is the Polka Hall of Fame’s historian and museum director. He creates exhibits for the museum and traveling displays. He also writes the biographies for the Lifetime Achievers and Trustees Honor Roll. Valencic stays connected to his Slovenian heritage by serving on the boards of many Slovenian organizations and promoting Slovenian and polka events. He writes, lectures and produces television documentaries on Slovenian American history and culture, both in the United States and in Europe.

“We are so excited for this event. The last time Joe visited the Folklife Center he discussed his research on Slovenians in West Virginia, which is featured in the current edition of Traditions: The Journal of West Virginia Folk Culture and Educational Awareness,” noted Interim Director of the Folklife Center, Francene Kirk. “This time Joe will share his experience as a family historian.”

This event is free and open to the public. Participants may join at www.fairmontstate.edu/valencicwebex. Questions may be directed to 304-367-4403 or francene.kirk@fairmontstate.edu.

The Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center is in a historic barn on the campus of Fairmont State University. The Center is dedicated to preserving and perpetuating West Virginia’s rich cultural heritage and houses the University’s academic courses in folklore and museum studies. Visitors are invited to tour the Folklife Center exhibits on weekdays from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Additional times are available by appointment.

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