skip navigation and jump to page content The Library of CongressThe American Folklife Center 
Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
Collage of Local Legacies
Horse with blue trim, Looff Carousel
Horse with blue trim, Looff Carousel

Looff Carousel

The Looff Carousel is located at Crescent Park in East Providence, Rhode Island, for several decades one of New England's most prominent amusement parks. The carousel was designed and built in 1895 by Charles I.D. Looff, a native of Denmark, and one of the earliest and foremost manufacturers of carousels. Still functioning on its original site more than one hundred years later, the Looff Carousel is the finest surviving example of a once-prevalent American folk art. Although many early handmade carousels have been sold off piecemeal and are either in the hands of private collectors or in museums as part of static displays, the Looff Carousel continues to serve the community. In recognition of its cultural significance, the Looff Carousel was entered into the National Register of Historic Sites and Places on April 21, 1976.

The project, the combined work of a folklorist and an historian, examined the Looff Carousel as community-based art, describing the contexts of its use from the beginning to the present. The photographic documentation, consisting of 30 slides enlarged into 16 x 20 cibachrome colored photos, became the basis of an exhibition which opened at the Cranston Public Library in the spring of 1995. The exhibition was subsequently shown at the Rhode Island School of Design in June 1997 and the Bristol Art Museum in March 1999.

The project is documented with a forty-page essay "A Living Museum: Oral History and Folklore of the Looff Carousel at Crescent Park, Rhode Island"; an eleven-page exhibition text; a two-page project summary; two pages on project personnel; a booklet entitled "The Looff Carousel: A Teacher's Guide to Community Based Projects"; and thirty color slides of the exhibition " A Living Museum" with two-page printed documentation.

Originally submitted by: Jack Reed,Senator.

link to www.loc.govMore Local Legacies...

The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

disclaimer for external linksLearn More About It...
  The Library of Congress 
The American Folklife Center
Contact Us
AFC Icon