CONTACT: Sylvia Plumb, Director of Communications, (802) 262-2626

Vermont Humanities Council Presents First Wednesdays Lecture

Vermont Folklife Center Founder Shares Treasures of the Spoken Word at Norwich Congregational Church


Burlington ~ Jane Beck, founder and former executive director of the Vermont Folklife Center in Middlebury, will share some gems from the Folklife Center's archives in a talk at Norwich Congregational Church on April 1. Her talk, "Catching People's Stories," is part of the Vermont Humanities Council’s First Wednesdays lecture series and takes place at 7:00 p.m.

The Vermont Folklife Center has made preservation of the spoken word the core of its endeavors for over twenty years. Beck will bring some of these words to life through lecture and audio recordings, sharing the historic and contemporary folklife of Vermont's communities.

Beck began her intensive study of Vermont folklore, folkways, and folk art as the Vermont Folklorist for the Vermont Arts Council in 1978. She holds an undergraduate degree from Middlebury College and a doctorate in folklore/folklife from the University of Pennsylvania. 

The Vermont Humanities Council’s First Wednesdays series is held on the first Wednesday of every month from October through May, featuring speakers of national and regional renown. First Wednesdays comes to Norwich for the first time in 2008-9; talks are held at Norwich Congregational Church and are hosted by Norwich Public Library and Norwich Historical Society.

First Wednesdays is also presented in eight other communities statewide: Brattleboro (at Brooks Memorial Library); Burlington (at Fletcher Free Library); Manchester (at First Congregational Church, hosted by Mark Skinner Library); Middlebury (at Ilsley Public Library); Montpelier (at Kellogg-Hubbard Library); Newport/Stanstead, Quebec (held at Goodrich Memorial Library and Stanstead College in alternating months); Rutland (at Rutland Free Library); and at St. Johnsbury Athenaeum. The program is free, accessible to people with disabilities and open to the public. 

The 2008-9 Norwich talks conclude with “Going to War in Shakespeare: Olivier, Branagh, and Henry V” with Dartmouth professor Peter Saccio on May 6.

The Vermont Department of Libraries and Windham Foundation are the statewide underwriters of First Wednesdays. Norwich Public Library is sponsored by The Byrne Foundation; Friends of Norwich Public Library; Harbor Mountain Press; and Mascoma Savings Bank.

“Catching People’s Stories” is sponsored by Creative Lighting Designs & Decor.

For more information, contact Norwich Public Library at 802.649.1184, or contact the Vermont Humanities Council at 802.262.2626 or [log in to unmask], or visit

The Vermont Humanities Council is a private nonprofit working to bring the power and the pleasure of the humanities to all Vermonters—of every background and in every community. The Council envisions a state in which every individual learns throughout life—a state in which all its citizens read, reflect, and participate in public affairs.

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