June 30-July 4, 1972
The 1972 Festival continued the pattern set by previous festivals, taking place for five days on the National Mall, between Madison Drive and Jefferson Drive and between 12th Street and 14th Street, south of the National Museum of History and Technology. Maryland was the featured State, and the craft and music presentations on the main Festival site were complemented by activities at Hains Point in West Potomac Park that showed the rich maritime traditions of the Chesapeake Bay. Programs devoted to American Indians of the Southwest and to Union Workers (including the diverse musical traditions of working Americans) rounded out the Festival.
Seeking to strengthen the connection between the living presentations at the Festival and the exhibitions within the walls of Smithsonian museums, the 1972 Festival introduced an addition intended to heighten visitors' experience and strengthen the educational content. At numerous locations where skills and crafts were demonstrated, small signs entitled "Museum Guides" directed visitors to locations within the museums where a correlative view of the products and skills seen at the Festival could be reviewed in an historic context.
As in previous years, the 1972 Festival was produced by the Division of Performing Arts, where James R. Morris was Director and Richard Lusher was Deputy Director. Ralph Rinzler continued as Festival Director, with Gerald L. Davis as Assistant Director and Kenneth S. Goldstein as Special Assistant to the Secretary on Folklore and Folklife.