Current TAUNY Research Projects
TAUNY's presentations of the customs and traditions of the North Country begin with research. Our staff and a network of scholars with whom we work travel around the region to study and document ongoing cultural practices in our communities. Read about our current research projects here.
"Get the Folk Through It"
Pandemic Documentation Project
Inviting the North Country community to share their stories of and creative responses to the Coronavirus Pandemic.
At TAUNY, we are honored to document and showcase the folklife, living traditions, and everyday culture of our region. That includes long-standing ways of knowing, doing, and making. And it includes newer ones that come to light when our community is faced with changes and challenges to our everyday lives, shaped in countless ways by our unique and common experiences of the place we call home.
Just as we were interested in people’s response to the disruptions of the 1998 Ice Storm, we want to hear from you now about your experience over the past months and going forward, with the pandemic changing many of our daily ways, while also reinforcing our sense of what’s most familiar and important to us.
- Stories about new traditions you’ve created or seen others creating in response, or new ways you and your community have come up with to carry on existing traditions or routines
- Arts, hobbies, or activities you’ve taken up or spent more time with while staying at home (for instance knitting, baking, gardening, woodworking, journaling, etc.)
- Creative responses (for instance art or craft works, songs, poems, etc.) to the pandemic
- Things you see around you--in your home, on the street, in nature--that express something about what’s been happening since the spread of COVID-19 started to affect life in our region
- Other stories of how the pandemic has affected you, your loved ones, your community, your job/profession, or other major aspects of your life
- Anything else you think we should see or hear about!
As many have been noting, a time of physical distancing can also be a time of connecting in so many other ways. With all of this in mind, TAUNY invites you to share any or all of the above, and to respond to our ongoing prompts on social media with more specific questions. These responses and experiences are important parts of our lives at this time, and they create an invaluable record of community experience and response for the future.
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the heading “Pandemic Documentation Project.”
- Please include your name, town, age, and anything else you’d like us to know about you.
- Email written stories, responses, etc.
- Email photos of art or craft projects, activities, things you observe you, etc., along with descriptions of what you’re sharing with us and why.
- Record yourself (audio or video) sharing a story, poem, song, or excerpt of an activity on your phone and email it.
- For longer videos or larger files, please send links to where they can be seen/heard.
- Fill out a survey here to give us an idea of your experience, and stay tuned for more subject-specific surveys.
We will compile these materials and find a meaningful way to share them with the community down the road. Best wishes to all for good health and peace.
The Birth House Project
Prior to World War II, women in the North Country traditionally gave birth in community, either at home or in birth houses. Around the 1950s, the common place of birth became more institutionalized in hospitals. Records show that birth houses were found in towns throughout the North Country, but there is very little information in the literature. To what degree are there community birth traditions in the North Country? How do birth houses tie into these traditions and affect present-day childbirth practices?
Over spring 2020, TAUNY has been working with midwife and community scholar Regina Willette and St. Lawrence University student intern Kylie Clancy on a project exploring these questions, and we are looking for community input.
Share your story!
Do you have any knowledge about birth houses and community birth before 1960? Did you or someone you know give birth in, work at, or have any other connection to a birth house in that pre-1960 time period? If you—or anyone you know of—have knowledge about or direct experience with this, please drop us a line at email@example.com or 315-386-4289. We are also interested in hearing about more recent birth-related traditions of your own or your family or community.
Kylie Clancy is a double major in anthropology and psychology with a minor in religious studies at St. Lawrence University. She is also a trained doula. For her senior thesis, she is teamed up with TAUNY (Traditional Arts of Upstate New York) and midwife Regina Willette to explore the extent of birth house traditions in the North Country, and how these traditions inform present day childbirth practices. Kylie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Regina Willette is a nationally board certified, New York State licensed midwife, and a retired physician assistant. She has worked with pregnant women and infants since 1977. Her major interest is community birth. Regina can be reached at email@example.com.
Camilla Ammirati Director Research and Programs, Camilla Ammirati, joined TAUNY in early 2014 and has since worked on planning and carrying out a wide range of research projects, programs, and exhibits. She is honored to have the opportunity to base these projects on skills, arts, traditions, experiences, and perspectives shared by community members. Camilla can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This signature program of TAUNY since 1993 puts a spotlight on a diversity of traditions and customs in the Adirondacks, Tug Hill Plateau, Black River Valley, 1000 Islands, St. Lawrence River Valley, and Champlain Basin. Research for this program is ongoing. The program hosts its own website.
North Country Folklore Online is a collection of educational modules about various aspects of contemporary and historical folk culture and traditional arts of northern New York State that has been created with TAUNY’s research.
Kindred Pursuits is an online catalog of a selection of visual expressions made in the northern counties of New York since they were first settled more than two centuries ago. Researched and documented over more than 30 years, the collection represents the rich diversity of traditional cultures living here as well as the beauty and power of creative expressions of ordinary people in everyday life.
Note: All images, text and other material found in this website © 2020 TAUNY. All rights reserved.