Minnesota Folk Arts Program (Philip Nusbaum)

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CSUMC0034-CG (local)
UW-Madison Archives 2008/42 (local)
1959 - 2000 (Inclusive dates)

Photographic images, video, and sound recordings of over 350 Minnesota folk artists and traditional musicians that resulted from John Berquist's and mainly Philip Nusbaum's tenure as Folk Arts Program associates at the Minnesota State Arts Board (1983-2003) relating to folk arts programming they organized to feature the state’s ethnic diversity, musical traditions, and artistic expressions.

Creator and/or Contributor
Philip Nusbaum (creator), Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures (contributor)
Administrative/Biographical History Element

The Minnesota State Arts Board obtained National Endowment for the Arts funding for a Folk Arts Program Associate position beginning in 1983. John Berquist first served in the position (1984-1985); Philip Nusbaum followed in March 1986, and held it until July 2003. Their enduring expertise and interests in traditional music shaped many of MSAB's documentary folk arts projects.

During his tenure, Nusbaum spearheaded the state's traditional artist apprenticeship program and, also with National Endowment for the Arts support, produced Minnesota Folk Arts radio programs, teacher institutes, festivals, a folk artists directory, and commercial recording projects that highlighted Minnesota folk culture. Through five major documentary projects and collaborations with “radio guy” Gordon Abel, Wayne Gannaway, gospel musician and teacher Judy Henderson, folklorist James P. Leary, anthropologist Maya López-Santamaría, ethnomusicologist Tom Vennum, and others, Nusbaum produced a five-LP Minnesota Traditional Music Series. Jointly sponsored by the Arts Board and the Minnesota Historical Society, the series featured Norwegian-American, Ojibwa, Latino, African-American and polka musical traditions in the state. The project documentation also enriched Nusbaum's other MSAB folk arts programming.

Nusbaum also published scholarly and popular articles that drew from the MSAB folk arts documentation he coordinated, on topics ranging from Minnesota bluegrass and Norwegian-American musical traditions to spear-fishing decoys and the contemporary culture of Vietnam veterans. Involved in radio show programming--since he was a student, at CCNY in New York City, at WFIU in Bloomington, Indiana, and then from 1977-1986 at KUNI-FM, an Iowa Public Radio affiliate in Cedar Rapids, Iowa--Nusbaum continued to feature the region's bluegrass musicians as host of Bluegrass Saturday Morning on KBEM-FM in Minneapolis (1993- ) and his syndicated weekly one-hour bluegrass radio show called the Bluegrass Review (2003- ).

Scope and Content Note

The Minnesota Folk Arts Program (Philip Nusbaum) Collection primarily includes photographic images and sound and video recordings that emerged from John Berquist's and Philip Nusbaum's documentary work during their tenures as Folk Arts Program associates at the Minnesota State Arts Board. Projects and programs represented include the Minnesota Traditional Music Series of commercial recordings, Minnesota Folk Arts radio shows, folk artist directories, the apprenticeship and folklore sponsorship programs, festival demonstrations and performances, and teaching programs.

The collection is loosely organized by media format, and each media type is arranged chronologically by project. The Minnesota State Arts Board Folk Arts Program administrative records that are housed at the Minnesota Historical Society contain correspondence, grant budgets, and contracts that relate to the folk arts apprenticeship program, folk arts sponsorship and folk arts apprenticeship grant applications, folk artist directories, and Minnesota State Fair demonstrations.

Custodial History

Philip Nusbaum donated this collection, with the approval of the Minnesota State Arts Board, to the Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures in July 2003 upon leaving his position with the Minnesota State Arts Board and not finding an appropriate Minnesota repository. A deed of gift form is on file. The collection was transferred to the University of Wisconsin-Madison Archives in 2008.

Conditions Governing Access

Contact records custodians for access information.

UW-Madison Archives
425 Steenbock Library
550 Babcock Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1201
Phone: (608) 262-5629
Web site:

Conditions Governing Reproduction

Consult the UW-Madison Archives for information on use restrictions. Duplication for public presentation, publication, and production requires negotiation with Philip Nusbaum and the people documented or their representatives. No release forms were obtained for the fieldwork in this collection.

55 (folders)
194 (cassette sound recordings)
20 (DAT sound recordings)
1760 (35 mm color slides (approximately))
730 (color prints)
280 (black-and-white negatives)
52 (black-and-white prints)
20 (Beta videocassette recordings)
8 (VHS videocassette recordings)
English (Languages)
German (Languages)
Norwegian (Languages)
Ojibwa (Languages)
Spanish (Languages)
Czech (Languages)
Finnish (Languages)
Hmong (Languages)
Slovenian (Languages)
Yiddish (Languages)
Other Subject Headings
Folk art (Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH))
Folk music (Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH))
Folklorists (Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH))
Minnesota (Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH))
Temporal Coverage
1959 - 2000
Geographic Coverage
Minnesota (state) (Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names)
Iowa (state) (Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names)
Preferred Citation
Please consult the UW-Madison Archives for guidelines. CSUMC's archiving team suggests the following citation form when using direct quotes from a person documented: [Name of person documented]. [Date]. [Tape/video/other]-recorded interview by [Fieldworker name]. [Place interviewed]. [Name of collection/project]. [Repository, city, state]. When using a specific image: [Identify subject matter/people in caption]. Photo/image by [Photographer/fieldworker name]. [Date]. Courtesy of [repository]. To quote fieldworker, follow bibliographical style.
Related Entities:
Philip Nusbaum (creator)
Sister Mercita Reinbold displays a bowl she painted in the Rogalund style of rosemaling, 1999. Photograph by Phil Nusbaum, courtesy of the UW-Madison Archives, #S09886.

Objects in this Collection