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Wednesday, July 02, 2008
techphotographytravel
Mom and Dad at the Folklife Festival

Last weekend I went with my parents to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. For those of you not familiar with the festival it's a yearly festival downtown on the mall that celebrates the living culture of states and nations. Every year a different nation, state, region or theme is picked. This year is all about Texas (the state), Bhutan (a country in the eastern Himalayas, bordered by China and India), and NASA (who is celebrating 50 years).

I think my mom was a little surprised when I asked if they were going to go this year and if they were, if I could come along. Admittedly it was not one of my favorite things to be dragged to growing up -- I remember it being hot and humid and crowded and boring. The heat, humidity, and the crowds were all the same, but I had more patience for listening and learning than I did growing up and it wasn't nearly as boring as I remember -- they had a ton of activities for kids this year (I don't know if they had the same thing when I was growing up or if I was too shy to want to participate). We had some interesting conversations with monks from Bhutan and engineers from NASA.

Steady Hand Bhutan

This year as part of the festival, the smithsonian has started the 2008 Smithsonian Folklife Festival Documentation Project group on flickr for people to share their photos taken at the festival.

The 2008 Smithsonian Folklife Festival Photo Sharing Project strives to strengthen both the mission of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival to promote cultural democracy, visitor participation, and cross-cultural conversation and the Smithsonian Photography Initiative's mission to document how photography plays an integral role in our lives and throughout the Smithsonian.

If you have a chance, check out some of the great pictures being posted to the group on flickr. It's really neat being able to see the festival from so many points of views and perspectives.

The Smithsonian has also joined The Commons project on Flickr. The commons got a brief mention in my blog in my tagging post but deserves a greater mention. As stated on flickr:

The key goals of The Commons on Flickr are to firstly show you hidden treasures in the world's public photography archives, and secondly to show how your input and knowledge can help make these collections even richer.

If you haven't taken some time to explore the commons, you should. There are some great photos reflecting our nation's and our world's past. So much of this content was hidden away or only viewable from a single location. Now it's available to everyone. How great is that?

Kelly • 09:15 PM • (2) Comments