Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Related Events

In addition to daily performances and activities on the National Mall, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival organizes and recommends events and exhibitions at other Smithsonian museums and venues around Washington, D.C. All events are free unless otherwise noted.


Mother Tongue Film Festival

February 21–25, 2017
Mother Tongue Film Festival
Various locations in Washington, D.C.

This free five-day festival hosted by the Smithsonian’s Recovering Voices (including the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage) will open on United Nations Mother Language Day and feature work representing thirty-three languages across six continents. Visitors can see a curated selection of films on music, identity, and place from communities around the world. Together, the program includes a variety of styles from drama to experimental and brings to light the value of language use and revitalization in today’s increasingly globalized world.

NOKA | Basque Song and Music from California

February 25, 2017, 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
The Will to Adorn: African American Diversity, Style, and Identity
Alexandria Black History Museum
902 Wythe St., Alexandria, Virginia

Growing from a Folklife Festival program in 2013, The Will to Adorn examines African American traditions of dress and body adornment as creative expressions, revealing ideas, values, skills, and knowledge rooted on the African continent and in the American experience. Folklife curator Diana Baird N’Diaye guides audiences through an exciting journey of discovery about how we make meaning through what we choose to wear, how we groom our hair, and how we refashion and adorn our bodies.


Zomba Prison Project

February 16, 2017, 6:30–7:30 p.m.
Sounding Board: Music, Prisons, and Transformation
The Potter’s House
1658 Columbia Road NW, Washington, D.C.

Join Georgetown University professor Ben Harbert, GRAMMY Award-winning music producer Ian Brennan, and Smithsonian Folkways director and curator Huib Schippers as they discuss complex and timely questions about the societal tensions between administering justice and facilitating rehabilitation, the transformative power of music, and more.


Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and World War II

Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and World War II
National Museum of American History
February 17, 2017–February 19, 2018

Marking the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 in February 2017, this exhibition explores the history of relocating Japanese American citizens and immigrants to prison camps during World War II through artwork, photographs, and objects.