Cabin to house cultural program

Mai Hoang

The log cabin located near Rhodes-Harlin and McCor-mack halls will become a place for learning about the state’s different cultural traditions, more than 60 years after it was built to commemorate the state’s early heritage.

The folk studies program will convert the log cabin into a center to house its outreach programs and to provide a venue for cultural events.

The program has spent several years developing a plan for a folk studies center, said Michael Ann Williams, director of the folk studies and anthropology program.

“People associate log houses and traditional architecture with folklore,” she said. “It seems like a good match.”

Rachel Baum, a graduate student from Palo Alto, Calif., in the folk studies program, has researched the history of the building.

Baum said structures like the log cabin were built in the 1930s to honor Kentucky’s pioneers.

She said she plans to submit a proposal to place the log cabin on the National Register of Historic Places.

Construction of the log cabin began in 1935 as a museum for pioneer life in Kentucky. It was supposed to be a segment of the Kentucky Museum, which opened in 1939.

But the cabin was never used as intended, Baum said.

The building was used as offices for the Herald and the College Heights Foundation. It was also the home of director-to-be John Carpenter in the 1950s, she said.

The log cabin was most recently used for housing, Provost Barbara Burch said.

“It seemed reasonable that the best uses would match the nature of the building,” she said. “Given the program – it’s going to deal with the celebration of heritage and folkways and other aspects of culture – the log cabin makes perfectly good sense to locate that.”

Williams said there won’t be major renovations to the log cabin besides maintenance. The building’s walls will be decorated with arts and crafts from Kentucky.

The cost has not yet been determined, she said.

The cabin includes a large room that can be used to hold programs such as music events. Williams said the smaller rooms in the cabin will give students, faculty and others more space to do research.

Some things that may be housed in the center include the Kentucky Folklife Association and Community Scholars, a program that allows people to document the history and traditions of their community.

The center will be among the first in the nation for a master’s folk studies program, Williams said.

“It builds on our reputation as a training center and our reputation in state folklore,” she said. “It’s taking us to another level.”

Williams said she is submitting a plan to Burch that proposes what the folk studies center will entail.

“I think that it would add to the culture of Bowling Green,” Baum said. “It’s a new kind of venue. It’s really intimate and cozy.”

Reach Mai Hoang at [email protected]