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Crafts in a Folklife Festival - Why Include Them and How to Evaluate Them

Fifteen years ago, when planning the first Folklife Festival, we were aware that the Smithsonian holds the world's most extensive collection of objects relating to American history and everyday life. Many of these objects--some made relatively recently and others in past centuries--were made by folk craftworkers. It seemed appropriate, therefore, to tie these objects to the tradition-bearers themselves. And so it was that we gathered from around the nation craftworkers--as well as musicians, dancers, and storytellers--and christened the event a "folklife" festival rather than simply a folk festival. Secretary Ripley, in commenting on the ...

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