Janet Gilmore

Position title: Emeritus Professor, Folklore & Landscape Architecture Honorary Fellow & Advisory Faculty

Email: jgilmore@wisc.edu

Phone: (608) 265.8270

46c Agricultural Hall

 MA & PhD, Folklore, Indiana University, Bloomington; BA, English Language & Literature, Reed College, Portland

Present & Past UW-Madison Affiliations:
 Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures, Department of Planning & Landscape Architecture, Folklore Program, Material Culture Certificate Program, Public Humanities Certificate Program, Center for Design & Material Culture, Department of Scandinavian Studies, Buildings Landscapes Cultures Program at UW-Milwaukee


Janet Gilmore’s independent, academic, and public folklore research, teaching, and outreach integrate perspectives and methodologies with landscape history, material culture and folklife. Landscape study is embedded in her research in maritime folklife and occupational communities, foodways, and festivals and celebrations in the Upper Midwest and home territory of the Pacific Northwest. She infuses the study of cultural landscape conservation and landscape history with ethnographic methodologies, National Register traditional cultural property models, and Folklore’s concepts of cultural conservation and public folklore practice.


Janet united varied landscape, material culture, and folklore approaches especially in her teaching, which required ethnographic exercises and reflection in class and off-campus assignments, and involved students in aspects of professional public folklore and cultural landscape conservation practice. In recent years, with student involvement, she began publishing insights gained from her “ethnography in the classroom” approach and teaching of field school and lab type classes. She especially enjoyed “meets with pairings” of classes from different disciplines and, inspired by a Landscape Architecture student and Ho-Chunk mentor, offered sequences of short-term hands-on experiential park landscape interpretation and design explorations.

Most Frequently Taught Classes:

  • Foodways
  • Cultural Landscapes of Food
  • Folklore of Festivals & Celebrations
  • Cultural Resource Preservation & Landscape History
  • Field School: Ethnography of Wisconsin, often with
  • Historic Preservation Planning Workshop
  • Ethnic Representations in Wisconsin
  • Methods in Historic/Cultural Resource Preservation

Major Editorial Service:

2016-2021   Lead Editor, Digest: A Journal of Foodways & Culture, vols. 5:2, 6, 7:1, & 7:2, including coordinating digital journal transition to IUScholarWorks Journals format & webpages during this time. (access 6-6-24) https://scholarworks.iu.edu/journals/index.php/digest/issue/archive

 Public Folklore & Folklore Archiving:

Since the 1980s, Janet has worked as an independent public folklorist and humanities consultant, documenting and presenting folk artists, their handiwork and the creative process, in a variety of public formats such as exhibits and festivals. Through the Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures, she collaborated with folklore colleagues, archivists, archivists-in-training, and digital librarians on numerous nationally-funded projects to identify, catalog, and make accessible publicly-funded folklife documentary collections and productions generated in Wisconsin and the Upper Midwest since the 1970s.


  • 2018 Community-University Partnership Award, “Creators, Collectors, & Communities: Making Ethnic Identity Through Objects” exhibit consulting team,   lead Professor Ann Smart Martin, Department of Art        History, Mount Horeb Area Historical Society, and        L&S Learning Support Services (UW Community Relations, Morgridge Center for Public Service, and   Community Partnerships and Outreach Staff Network)
  • 2012 Dr. Brenda Pfaehler Award of Excellence, UW– Madison Center for Educational Opportunity
  • 2007 Brenda McCallum Prize, American Folklore Society Archives & Libraries Section

Selected Publications

On Practice:

2022   “The Bobbing Boat: Lasting Impressions, Rejuvenated Memories, and Intriguing Prospects.” In Culture Work: Folklore for the Public Good, ed. Tim Frandy & B. Marcus Cederström, 120-32. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

2015   “Filling ‘An Immense Brain With Very Little in the Brain’ for ‘Perpetual Memory’: Folklore Archiving New and Old.” Journal of Folklore Research 52:1: 99-138.

2012   Teaching Practice through Fieldwork Course Design,” Western Folklore 70: 3/4 (Summer Fall 2011): 255-85.

2012   Editor-in-Chief, with Anna V. Andrzejewski, Thomas Carter, and student designer Dee Finnegan. Summer Field School 2009 in Wiota, Wisconsin (Wiota booklet selection). UW–Madison Dept. of Landscape Architecture. 56-page 11 x 17 color booklet. (access 6-6-24)

2012   With Troy Reeves. “Case Study: Oral History, Folklore, and Vernacular Architecture,” on Oral History in the Digital Age website, Institute of Museum and Library Services, http://ohda.matrix.msu.edu/2012/06/oral-history-folklore-and-vernacular-architecture/  (access 6-6-24)

On Foodways:

2023   “RESPONSE: Inklings, Frights, Coping, and Gratitude—Personal Foodways in Tough Times.” In Cultural Analysis: An Interdisciplinary Forum on Folklore and Popular Culture, Forum Series 1: Pandemics & Politics, March 2023, 14-21. https://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~culturalanalysis/series/1/pdf/Long.pdf (access 6-6-24)

2015  Ed., “Ethiopian Foodways” entry, by Heidi Busse, Mulu Yayehirad, and Almaz Yimam. In Ethnic American Food Today: A Cultural Encyclopedia, ed. Lucy Long, 187-195. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Studies in Food and Gastronomy.

2015  “Stuffed Baked Northern Great Lakes Whitefish, Lake Superior Lake Trout…” Digest: A Journal of Foodways and Culture 4:1 (Spring, 7 pages). https://scholarworks.iu.edu/journals/index.php/digest/article/view/27893/33107 (access 6-6-24)

2013   “University Students, Foodways, and the Immigrant Process.” In The Return of Traditional Food: Proceedings of the 19th International Ethnological Food Research Conference, Lund University, Sweden, 2012, ed. Patricia Lysaght, 241-249. Lund, Sweden: Lund University. https://lucris.lub.lu.se/ws/portalfiles/portal/3761338/4053890.pdf (access 6-6-24)

2012   “Booyah Feasts.” In Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, 2nd ed., ed. Andrew F. Smith. New York: Oxford University Press.

2011   “Hot Peppers in Pasty Territory: Food Pluralism, Sustainability, and the Need for Ethnography” in “Selected Abstracts from the 2010 Annual Conference of the Joint Meeting of the Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS), the Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society (AFHVS), and the Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition (SAFN), 2-5 June 2010, Bloomington, IN, USA,” Appetite 56: 2 (April): 529.

2010   [“Centered on Food”] “On Key Ingredients,” Wisconsin Humanities Council Newsletter ON, Winter 2011, panels 3-7.

2007-2013   “Wisconsin’s Friday Night Fish Fry Tradition” on former classicwisconsin.com website.

2004   “Sagamité and Booya: French Influence in Defining Great Lakes Culinary Heritage.” Material History Review/Revue d’histoire de la culture matérielle 60: 58-69. Ottawa, ON: Canada Science and Technology Museum.

2003   “‘Pretty Hungry for Fish’: Fish Foodways among the Commercial Fishing People of the Western Shore of Lake Michigan’s Green Bay,” Midwestern Folklore 29: 1 (Spring): 1-43.

On Maritime Folklife & Landscapes:

2007   “Fish Tugs.” In The American Midwest: An Interpretive Encyclopedia, Folklore Section, Ed. Richard Sisson, Christian Zacher, and Andrew Cayton, 358-59. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

2007   “Flatboats.” In The American Midwest: An Interpretive Encyclopedia, Folklore Section, ed. Richard Sisson, Christian Zacher, and Andrew Cayton, 414-15. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

2005  Eileen Behrend, Charlie Nylund, and Tom Peters biographies in “Special Program: Maritime Traditions of the Great Lakes.” Great Lakes Folk Festival, August 12-14, 2005 supplement, Lansing State Journal, 6-8.

2003  With Pete Granger, Randy Roughton, and Riley Starks. “Reef-Netting Demonstrations on the Broad Street Lawn.” The 32nd Annual Northwest Folklife Festival 2003 Souvenir Festival Guide, 19. Seattle: Northwest Folklife.

2003  With Jens Lund. “Transparent Yet Powerful: Water and the Western Maritimes.” The 32nd Annual Northwest Folklife Festival 2003 Souvenir Festival Guide, 20, 22. Seattle: Northwest Folklife.

1999   The World of the Oregon Fishboat: A Study in Maritime Folklife. 2nd ed., with new preface and cover. Pullman: Washington State University Press. First edition, Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press,1986.

1999   “‘We Made ‘Em to Fit Our Purpose’: The Northern Lake Michigan Fishing Skiff Tradition.” In Wisconsin Folklore, ed. James P. Leary, 457-75. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. First edition in The Old Traditional Way of Life: Essays in Honor of Warren E. Roberts, ed. Robert E. Walls and George H. Schoemaker, 58-78. Bloomington, IN: Trickster Press.

1996   “Fishing (commercial).” In American Folklore: An Encyclopedia, ed. Jan Harold Brunvand, 271-73.  New York: Garland Publishing.

1996   “The Mississippi River.” In “Between the Rivers: An Iowa Photo Album,” Smithsonian Institution Festival of American Folklife 1996, ed. Carla Borden, 27. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution. Also reproduced in Festival of Iowa Folklife: A Sesquicentennial Celebration!, 30. Des Moines: Iowa Sesquicentennial Commission.

1994   Luanne Kozma, with Janet C. Gilmore and Jay C. Martin. Marlinespikes and Monkey’s Fists: Traditional Arts and Knot-Tying Skills of Maritime Workers. East Lansing: Michigan State University Museum.

1994   “The Naming of Fishboats.” In The Stories We Tell: An Anthology of Oregon Folk Literature, ed. Suzi Jones and Jarold Ramsey,180-82. Corvallis: Oregon State University Press. (World of Oregon Fishboat excerpt)

1990   “Fisherman Stereotypes: Sources and Symbols.” Canadian Folklore Canadien 12: 2: 17-38.

1987   “Fishing for a Living on the Great Lakes.” In the 1987 Festival of American Folklife program booklet, 60-64. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution and National Park Service.

On Ethnic Landscapes & Folks Arts:

2012   “Restless Spirits on the Driftless Landscape” and “Cottonwood Dairy.” In From Mining to Farm Fields to Ethnic Communities: Buildings and Landscapes of Southwestern Wisconsin, Vernacular Architecture Forum Madison meeting tour book, ed. Anna V. Andrzejewski, Arnold R. Alanen, and Sarah Fayen Scarlett, 34-55 and 335-41. UW–Madison Dept. of Art History.

2009   “Mount Horeb’s Oljanna Venden Cunneen, A Norwegian-American Rosemaler ‘on the Edge.’” “Nordic Spaces” issue of ARV: Yearbook of Nordic Folklore 65: 25-47.

2004   “Rosemaling.” In Encyclopedia of American Folk Art, ed. Gerard C. Wertkin, 440-44. New York: Routledge.

1999   “Work at Rest.” In Wisconsin Folklore, ed. James P. Leary, 407-31. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

1997   “Marking Time, Honoring Connections, Recording Meaning.” In Wisconsin Folk Art: A Sesquicentennial Celebration, ed. Robert T. Teske, 29-45. Cedarburg, WI: Cedarburg Cultural Center.

1989   “Making Something out of ‘Nothing’.” In The Folk Arts of Washington State: A Survey of Contemporary Folk Arts and Artists in the State of Washington, ed. Jens Lund, 67-77. Tumwater, WA: Washington State Folklife Council.

1987   With James P. Leary. “Cultural Forms, Personal Visions.” In From Hardanger to Harleys: A Survey of Wisconsin Folk Art, ed. Robert T. Teske, 13-22. Sheboygan, WI:  John Michael Kohler Arts Center.

Online Exhibits, Videos, Repositories & Collections:


2021-2022  Consulting Folklorist. “Belgian Booyah—A Brief History” half-hour video, Belgian Heritage Center, Door County, WI https://youtu.be/sgpNvW5F998 (access 6-6-24)

2016   Consulting Folklorist. “‘One Bead at A Time’: Elena Greendeer Finger Weaves the Ho-Chunk Pah-keh” mini-video for Chippewa Valley Museum, Wisconsin Arts Board funding, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bRsctbTWgI (access 6-6-24)

2014   Consulting Folklorist. “‘A Piece of Hmong’: Mai Xee Xiong Creates a Hmong New Year’s Hat” mini-video for Changing Currents: Reinventing the Chippewa Valley exhibit at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8-aGv87pcc (access 6-6-24); see also http://www.cvmuseum.com/news.phtml/8FAB0A6E/a_piece_of_hmong_video_premieres/ (access 6-6-24)

Exhibits & Repositories

2017   Lead Ed., “Southwest Wisconsin Folklore” 2005-08 student photo-text exhibit digital file updates and reprinting of first 5 of 10 posters for classroom project teaching & exhibition.

2016   Coordinator, with James P. Leary, ed., and Anna Rue, video production transfer chief. Ach Ya! The Story of German Music in Wisconsin digital re-creation of original analog slide-tape program (curated by Phil Martin, et al., Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin Folklife Center, 1984-86) as online video in UW-Madison Kaltura Media Space to be more publicly accessible online as part of Mills Music Library & CSUMC NEH-funded “Local Centers/Global Sounds” https://mediaspace.wisc.edu/media/Ach+Ya+2016+04_27/0_n354fdlc (access 6-6-24).

2016    Lead Ed., with Carrie Roy, Anna Rue, and James P. Leary. Polka Music | Polka Culture digital re-creation in Adobe InDesign of original analog traveling photo-text exhibit (curated by James P. Leary and Lewis Koch, Mt. Horeb: Wisconsin Folk Museum, 1990) as printed posters for touring & K-12 education workshops & as digital online poster with sound in Adobe InDesign; to be posted on updated CSUMC website (pending) https://indd.adobe.com/view/a73e4d4e-5083-49f9-b66a-ded872b7ba82 (access 6-6-24, some audio links broken)

2016    Lead Ed. with Carrie Roy, Anna Rue, and James P. Leary. ‘The Only Way to Get It Is to Make It’: The Experiences of Woodland Indian Traditional Artists traveling photo-text exhibit digital re-creation in Adobe InDesign (curated by James P. Leary, Lewis Koch, and Janet C. Gilmore, Mt. Horeb: Wisconsin Folk Museum, 1995) as printed posters for touring & K-12 educational workshops & as digital online poster with sound; to be posted on updated CSUMC website (pending).

https://indd.adobe.com/view/90936182-5106-48f6-b8e7-0cf01ca8d35a (access 6-6-24)

2015    Ed., with James P. Leary, ed., and Julia Wong, metadatist, “Ach Ya! German American Music Collection.” In “State of Wisconsin Collections,” University of Wisconsin Digital Collections at https://search.library.wisc.edu/digital/AAchYa

(access 6-6-24)

2014  Ed., with James P. Leary, ed., and Julia Wong, metadatist. “The Polka Music/Polka Culture Exhibit Collection.” In the “State of Wisconsin Collections,”

University of Wisconsin Digital Collections at


(access 6-6-24)

2013   Ed., with Julia Wong. “Woodland Indian Traditional Artist Project,” University of Wisconsin Digital Collections, https://search.library.wisc.edu/digital/AWoodland (access 6-6-24)

2013   “UWDC Woodland Indian Traditional Artist Profect Collection Infuses New and Continuing Life into Analog Documentation,” University of Wisconsin–Madison Libraries News & Events, June 17, 2013 (access 6-6-24). http://library.wisc.edu/news/2013/06/17/uwdc-woodland-indian-traditional-artist-project-collection/

Since 2004   Lead Ed., with on-line editors Julia Wong (2011-18+), Karen J. Baumann (2007-09), and Nicole Saylor (2005-06). Public Folk Arts and Folklife Projects of the Upper Midwest (Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures). In Archival Resources in Wisconsin: Descriptive Finding Aids, University of Wisconsin Digital Collections (access 6-6-24)) http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/WIArchives.CSUMC

2010   With Karen J. Baumann, Mary Hoefferle, and James P. Leary. “Folklore Student Research Papers Collection,” University Archives (Accession 2010/002 61H1).

2009-2010   With Laura Wynholds, Carrie Roy, and Rob Howard, aided by Dorothea Salo of UW Digital Collections. “UW-Madison Folklore Student Papers” Minds@UW (http://minds.wisconsin.edu/handle/1793/32119)

2009   With Karen J. Baumann, Mary Hoefferle, Sarah Roberts, and Sara Ziemendorf Nagreen. “Preservation and Access” web page at http://csumc.wisc.edu/, Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures website, UW–Madison, including:

  • “Archiving Projects, 2002-2010” list
  • “Public Folklore Collections in the Upper Midwest” 2008 poster
  • “Searchable Online Collection Guides” link
  • “Survey of Public Folklore Collections in the Upper Midwest,” by Nicole Saylor, updated pdf version
  • Survey questionnaire (found under “Archiving Projects, 2002-2010”)
  • “Regional Survey Report’s Key Findings”
  • “Surveyed Folklore Collections” digest with links