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Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Understanding the American Experience

  • What makes the peoples of the United States one nation, and how have people perceived its nationhood over time?
  • What are the experiences of the country's diverse cultural communities and how are they expressed?

Answers to these important questions can be found throughout the Smithsonian Institution.

Our collections include a rich store of American art works; historical and technological artifacts and images; and extensive photographic, sound, and documentary archives. The staff members working with these collections document, analyze, and display American history, art, and culture through stories that capture the characters and contributions of historical figures, artists, inventors, and others. Smithsonian staffers also use public programs in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere to help community members discover what they find most compelling about the American experience and how they can contribute to the preservation and interpretation of their own historical and cultural exploration.

Click images to enlarge and view captions

June 24-28

All activities are from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on the National Mall

Thursday, June 24 Friday, June 25 Saturday, June 26 Sunday, June 27 Monday, June 28
  • Archives of American Art
  • National Museum of American History: Images of the American West Mid-19th Century
  • National Museum of the American Indian: Recent Acquisitions
  • Smithsonian American Art Museum: America Through Art
  • Innovation and Invention
  • National Museum of American History
  • National Portrait Gallery: Celebrity Caricatures
  • Video Games
  • Asian Pacific American Program
  • National Museum of African American History and Culture: Oral History
  • National Museum of Natural History: Repatriation
  • National Museum of the American Indian: Repatriation
  • National Museum of American History: History Photos
  • National Portrait Gallery Collections
  • National Postal Museum: Presidents and First Ladies
  • Hawai'i Pacific American
  • National Museum of American History
  • Where is Democracy?

July 1-5

Thursday, July 1 Friday, July 2 Saturday, July 3 Sunday, July 4 Monday, July 5
  • Instrument Collection
  • Museums on the Mall
  • Music Day
  • Music in America
  • National Museum of African American History and Culture: Collections
  • National Museum of American History: Food Culture
  • National Museum of American History: Archives
  • Sugar Refinery Inventor
  • Asian Pacific American Heritage Center
  • National Museum of the American Indian: Indivisible
  • SI Affiliations: Reginald Lewis Museum
  • SI Archives
  • National Portrait Gallery: Elvis Presley
  • Oral History Collecting
  • National Museum of American History
  • National Museum of the American Indian: Horses Project
  • National Postal Museum: Owney the Dog and Trains
  • SI Libraries