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A Day in the Life: Festival Warehouse Coordinator Jason Morris

Jason Morris in the staff compound of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

Jason Morris in the staff compound of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

Today’s “Day in the Life” features Jason Morris, the Warehouse Coordinator for the Folklife Festival. This is Jason’s third year as the Warehouse Coordinator, but he has worked in various other positions, including Program Coordinator, since 2005.

Q: How do you prepare for the Festival?

A: A lot of the preparation for the Festival happens offsite at the Festival warehouse in Maryland. I spend the majority of my time there, working on pre-production construction, and keeping track of what materials come and go during Festival prep.

Q: Where do you find yourself most during the Festival?

A: Well, like I said, I’m responsible for inventory of supplies and materials, and any construction projects that can occur offsite, so before the Festival opens, I’m out at the warehouse mostly. But about three weeks before the start of the Festival, we begin moving things on to the Mall. At that point, I am responsible for managing what’s already on the Mall, in addition to being aware of ongoing projects and supply requests, and how to transport materials to the Mall. Once the Festival is rolling, I typically start my day at the warehouse, so I’m available for supply requests and deliveries. I’m accepting larger, more general requests, like furniture and extra signage for the different programs.

Q: Why does so much of the production happen offsite?

A: It used to be that prep work started out on the Mall as early as May. But we’ve since started renting the warehouse in an effort to reduce our footprint on the Mall. Part of the warehouse is used for storage of materials and supplies, and part is used for building whatever sets and props are needed for Festival programs.

Q: Are there benefits to having the warehouse offsite?

A: Definitely. It’s great to have a concrete location available for deliveries of supplies and materials. It’s also good that we have the space to organize and store production equipment and program materials.

Q: What happens when the Festival is over?

A: Well, I actually have to start thinking about that question during the Festival. In fact, opening day, I’m cleaning and organizing the warehouse, prepping it for when things on the Mall are deconstructed post-Festival. Once the Festival’s closed, I’ll be taking inventory, supervising and helping with transportation of materials from the Mall to the warehouse, and keeping track of the organization inside the warehouse.

A lot of work goes on behind the scenes – without people who do the kind of work Jason does, the Folklife Festival wouldn’t be possible!

Hannah Crepps is a Web Production and Social Media intern with the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. She graduated in May from St. John’s College in Santa Fe, N.M. and hopes to pursue her interests in cultural heritage policy and international diplomacy.

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