We learn a lot through the stories we share. Whether they are in conversation with a Festival participant on the National Mall or on one of our many social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, SoundCloud, you get the point!), our Festival visitors, social media followers, and life-long fans show us that the Festival is a timeless event that crosses cultural borders through music, art, and heritage each year.
Case in point is the winning photo of the 2014 Smithsonian Folklife Instagram contest “Capture a Moment of Discovery” that came to us from Instagram user the_real_mccoy. We loved how her Instagram did just that – captured a moment of young visitors’ enthusiasm for the Zhejiang Wu Opera Troupe’s Dragon-Lion Cart.
Smithsonian Folklife was happy to learn that not only had we chosen a great moment to highlight at the Festival, but our winner had a long and meaningful relationship with the Festival that she is passing along to her son. After learning of her winning photo, the_real_mccoy wrote on Instagram:
I’m thrilled to have won the Smithsonian Folklife Festival’s “Capture a Moment of Discovery” contest. This has a lot of meaning to me as I seemed to have spent most of my childhood on The Mall (in Washington, DC). My husband and I have taken advantage of everything The Smithsonian has had to offer and essentially raised our son at The Smithsonian. Simply put, the institution is a huge part of our lives. I love when the warm weather rolls around because it means the Folklife Festival is coming soon. Hopefully the festival will be around for many more years to come. Thank you! @smithsonianfolklife
While social media is an invaluable communication tool, particularly for self-branding or promoting an event like the Folklife Festival, the stories that are born through it can often be overlooked. Once we posted the_real_mccoy’s Instagram on the Festival’s Facebook page, Facebook user David Ballard also commented on the Instagram’s similarity to Alfred Eisenstaedt’s famous 1963 photograph of French children watching a puppet show titled, “Saint George and the Dragon” at an outdoor theater.
See the parallels in Eisenstaedt for yourself on Time.com’s photo archive.