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Elementary students invited to learn about Appalachia at Folklife Center Impact
Fairmont State News

Elementary students invited to learn about Appalachia at Folklife Center

Sep 18, 2019

A free educational program, “The Dust We Leave Behind: Stories, Games, and Songs from Another Time,” for local elementary schools is being offered by the Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center. 

The program provides a fun and exciting way to participate in customs and stories from the region’s past. The program will run Wednesday, October 9 and Thursday, Oct. from 9 a.m. to noon.  

“The Dust We Leave Behind” is sponsored by the West Virginia Humanities Council and is free to schools. The program is limited to 75 students each day and is appropriate for grades 3 through 6.

Students will participate in three rotating 50-minute sessions on the day their school attends. Session 1 will meet in the Folklife Center with Fred Powers, a former educator and UMWA coal miner. Powers will take students through a first-person narrative that highlights the voice of a typical coal miner and his place in American history, including the dangers of mining and an overview of coal culture, superstitions, tools, customs, and stories. 

Session 2 will meet at the one-room school house museum on Fairmont State University’s Campus with educator Sharon Powers, where children will learn child lore through interactive Appalachian pioneer games. Various hands-on activities will teach students traditional playground culture, including games, toys, and songs.

Session 3 will meet in the Folklife Center’s first floor classroom with Folklife Center staff to learn traditional Appalachian music and songs that would have been familiar to children in the past. Students will have the opportunity to experience the dulcimer during this session.

The Folklife Center is dedicated to the identification, preservation, and perpetuation of our region’s rich cultural heritage. It houses academic minors in folklore and museum studies. 

For additional information about this free school-day program, please contact Dr. Francene Kirk or Ms. Tiffany Martin at 304-367-4403 or

Dr. Francene KirkFolklife CenterWest Virginia Humanities Council