Ellen McHale

Executive Director

Ph.D. and M.A. in Folklore and Folklife, University of Pennsylvania 

B.A. Music and American Studies, Wesleyan University 

Ellen McHale has served as the CEO of New York Folklore, since 1999, including the role of managing editor of “Voices: The Journal of New York Folklore,” working with the New York Folklore Board of Directors, communicating with funders and potential donors and funders, and serving as spokesperson for the organization.

Prior to her work at New York Folklore, Ellen McHale worked as a public sector folklorist in several locations in New York State. She initiated folk arts programs at Arts Mid-Hudson and the Arts Center for the Capital District, and served as a consulting folklorist for many cultural organizations. Ellen served as Executive Director of the Shaker Heritage Society and later as the Director of the Schoharie County Historical Society. 

A scholar, Ellen has conducted fieldwork and written about the occupational life and lore of workers at Thoroughbred Racetracks in the United State, (Stable Views: Voices and Stories of the Thoroughbred Racetrack, Mississippi Press, 2014).  Her other research interests include responses to climate change and flooding caused by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, refugee and immigrant inclusion and adaptation, and the intersection of culture and the environment.  She is a Fulbright Fellow (Sweden/Senior Fellow) and was awarded an Archie Green Fellowship from the Library of Congress in 2012.   She has served as an adjunct for Utica College, Empire State College, and Hudson Valley Community College.

Ellen McHale currently serves on the Executive Boards of the American Folklore Society, and Local Learning: The National Network for Folk Arts Education. She serves as a trainer for the Veteran’s History Project of the Library of Congress.  She also serves as an elected town board member for the Town of Charleston, Montgomery County, NY.