"Marjorie's great passion and focus has been conducting research and fieldwork with artisans in the building trades."
Marjorie Hunt is a folklorist and curator with the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. Her grandfather, Pasquale Peronace, was a stonemason who immigrated to Philadelphia in the early 1900s from a small village in Calabria, Italy. Her great passion and focus has been conducting research and fieldwork with artisans in the building trades.
Since joining the Smithsonian Folklife Center in 1982, she has curated numerous Folklife Festivals and has been the driving force behind Masters of the Building Arts Festival since 2001. In 1984 She published the short documentary The Stone Carvers with producer Paul Wagner which won an Academy Award based on the work of the Italian immigrants who built the national cathedral in Washington. In 2018 she premiered the series on PBS, Good Work: Masters of the Building Arts.
As part of the Smithsonian’s focus on cultural sustainability and our longstanding commitment to the building arts, Marjorie developed the Building Arts and Traditional Architecture Initiative. This project helps sustain traditional building crafts and supports new applications of traditional architecture across the United States and around the world. The Initiative aims to:
Sustain the traditions of the building crafts by celebrating master artisans and attracting new craftspeople to learn and practice these important trades
Educate design and planning professionals about the value of the building arts and traditional architecture
Increase understanding of the value of the building arts, historic preservation, and traditional architecture through scholarship, publications, symposia, and public outreach
Her publications include The Stone Carvers: Masters Craftsmen of Washington National Cathedral and The Smithsonian Folklife and Oral History Interviewing Guide.
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