Overview

Sustainability Matters: 2014 Festival Statistics

The 2014 Smithsonian Folklife Festival was the greenest one to date, and represented the largest composting effort for any event on the National Mall. Resource recovery tents were strategically placed near dining areas and busy walkways to maximize accessibility and visibility. By collecting and sorting waste at these numerous stations, … Continue reading Sustainability Matters: 2014 Festival Statistics

Streakers, Strollers, and Students: What Kind of Festival Visitor Are You?

Museum visitors are often classified by evaluators as “streakers, strollers, and students,” terms apparently coined by Australian museum administrator George MacDonald in the 1990s. Streakers move quickly through exhibitions; strollers take their time; and students stay the longest and learn as much as they can. Visitors to the Smithsonian Folklife … Continue reading Streakers, Strollers, and Students: What Kind of Festival Visitor Are You?

A Visit to the Warehouse

Thirteen miles east of the National Mall, the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage supply and technical crews gear up for their big move to the Mall for the Festival.  The high-ceilinged warehouse is busy as the crew finishes up construction projects and final touches on props and stages … Continue reading A Visit to the Warehouse

Sneak Preview: Classic Harmonica Blues from Smithsonian Folkways

The harmonica is an instrument synonymous with all genres of American music—Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan used it in their classics ballads, psychedelic rock pioneers the Brian Jonestown Massacre brought it to new generations, and Stevie Wonder used it on chart-toppers.  Despite its versatility and ubiquity throughout American music, it … Continue reading Sneak Preview: Classic Harmonica Blues from Smithsonian Folkways

In Memoriam: Remembering Walter Milton “Teeth” Kelly (July 27, 1926 – November 26, 2012)

I first met “Teeth” in early Fall 1968, the year I began my Baltimore Arabbers Photodocumentary Project. I was at the old Camden Street Produce Center, near the corner of Camden and Light Streets (now a Hyatt Hotel), and I was documenting the lives of “Arabbers,” the vendors who sell … Continue reading In Memoriam: Remembering Walter Milton “Teeth” Kelly (July 27, 1926 – November 26, 2012)

Festival 2012: A Volunteer’s Reflections

I have volunteered and worked at several Smithsonian Folklife Festivals before, but I did not know what to anticipate when I went down to the Festival grounds on Sunday, July 1. Deadly winds had ripped through the D.C. metro area the previous Friday night, downing power lines, toppling trees, and creating … Continue reading Festival 2012: A Volunteer’s Reflections