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The Directory of Directory of Traditional American Crafts  was established in 1985 to showcase the talents of artisans and craft people working in the styles, media, and traditions of early America. They are following in the footsteps of the people who laid the foundation of the American nation, making both useful objects (from clothes to dinnerware to furniture to tools) and art--and most important of all, where the two collide. A useful clock becomes a work of art. 

Two goals underlie the Directory. It is meant to preserve and to educate. Without preservation, the skills and knowledge to create these objects will be lost. Should the last maker of Shaker boxes pass on (fortunately for the world, there are many), the techniques passed on for generations will be lost. Although centuries from now some historic re-creator might revive the product, he can never be sure he truly duplicates the efforts of his predecessors. Once lost a skill is gone forever.

Education is the key to preservation. We must learn from our predecessors, not just how but why--the full story of where a particular art or craft came from, how it evolved, and how the best results can be achieved. Most of the participants in the Directory in some way educate, either by taking apprentices under their wings, by giving demonstrations at museums, conventions, and fairs, or by publishing. In addition, the Directory jurors provide feedback to participants to help them improve the quality and historical integrity of their work.