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Kurt Dewhurst - Michigan State University. East Lansing, MI, US

Kurt Dewhurst

Director, Curator, and Professor | Michigan State University


Expert on: Museum Studies, Folklore, Folk Art, Intangible Cultural Heritage, Cultural Policy, International Cultural Engagement



Kurt Dewhurst Publication



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Intangible Cultural Heritage: An International Dialogue, Part 3



As curator of folk life and cultural heritage for MSU, Kurt Dewhurst is an expert on the intersection of arts and culture. Dewhurst was instrumental in fostering a curatorial relationship between the MSU Museum and the Nelson Mandela Museum in South Africa, and he was responsible for the MSU premiere of an international exhibit, "Dear Mr. Mandela, Dear Mrs. Parks: Children’s Letters, Global Lessons.”

Industry Expertise (1)


Areas of Expertise (7)

Cultural Heritage Practice

International Engagement

Cultural Policy

Folklore and Folklife

Museum Studies

Intangible Cultural Heritage

American Studies

Education (3)

Michigan State University: Ph.D., English/American Studies 1983

Michigan State University: M.A. 1973

Michigan State University: B.A. 1970

News (3)

Great Lakes Folk Festival cancels 2018

Lansing State Journal  online


The Great Lakes Folk Festival – a local staple, under various names, for three decades – won’t be happening this summer.

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Great Lakes Folk Festival delivers awesome variety

Lansing State Journal  online


But music is just part of the weekend. The husband-wife team of Kurt Dewhurst and Marsha MacDowell have had a folk-life festival since 1987...

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'Siyazama' exhibition at Mathers Museum explores folk arts' role in AIDS fight

UI Bloomington Newsroom  online


In South Africa, the ongoing AIDS epidemic is woven into the fabric of the society. Its story also is woven into baskets and is strung bead by bead in other crafts such as dolls and jewelry.

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Journal Articles (3)

Strategies for Creating and Sustaining Museum-Based International Collaborative Partnerships

Contemporary Work in Museums

C. Kurt Dewhurst and Marsha MacDowell

2015 Practicing Anthropology is a career-oriented publication of the Society for Applied Anthropology. Its overall goals are:(1) to provide a vehicle of communication and source of career information for anthropologists working outside academia;(2) to encourage a bridge between practice inside and outside the university;(3) to explore the uses of anthropology in policy research and implementation;(4) to serve as a forum for inquiry into the present state and future of anthropology in general.

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Folklife and Museum Practice: An Intertwined History and Emerging Convergences

Journal of American Folklore

C. Kurt Dewhurst

2014 FOLKLORE AND MUSEUMS have had a long and intertwined history. Among those responsible for the founding of the American Folklore Society (AFS) in 1888 were museum-based anthropologists, curators, and collection managers. Since that time, folklorists have worked in and with museums in a variety of ways—work that has reflected intellectual and political shifts in folklore studies as well as changes in museum practice. As cultural heritage work in the twenty-first century seeks simultaneously to document, interpret, present, preserve, and protect tangible and intangible heritage while at the same time address the needs of civil society, the logical interfaces between folklore and museum work have increased.

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Cultivating Connectivity: Folklife and Inclusive Excellence in Museums

Curator: The Museum Journal

C. Kurt Dewhurst, Diana Baird N'Diaye, Marsha MacDowell

2014 Today there is a growing global awareness of the need to address issues related to the safeguarding and use of both tangible and intangible heritage. By engaging with communities in the documentation of local cultures—especially their folklife, or in other words, their traditional intangible cultural heritage—museums can create collections that will serve as foundations for museum research, exhibitions, and programs that have more resonance with and relevance for those communities. Interactions of these kinds—in particular those of the Smithsonian's Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and the Michigan State University Museum, home of the Michigan Traditional Arts Program, as well as collaborations between the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and the Great Lakes Folk Festival, and other programs around the world—have served as important platforms for public discourse about a variety of issues and have produced programs and exhibitions both at home and around the world.

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