As in preceding years, the 2010 Festival featured many of the finest practitioners of diverse, living traditions - both old and new. The Festival’s overall goal is to strengthen and preserve these traditions by presenting them on the National Mall in a respectful way to promote mutual understanding. The 2010 Festival featured three major programs.
The Asian Pacific American program permitted visitors to meet Asian Pacific Americans from the Washington, D.C., area who speak dozens of different languages, teach classes that emphasize ethnic identity, participate in traditional practices, and contribute to the cultural landscape of our nation’s capital. Mexico is home to more than sixty-two indigenous groups, making it one of the richest countries in the world in terms of ethnic diversity. Festival audiences could meet people from communities whose histories and cultures reach back to pre-Columbian civilizations. The third program, Smithsonian Inside Out, invited visitors to step behind the scenes of the Smithsonian Institution and meet the curators, archivists, conservators, security experts, exhibition fabricators, and many more workers who shared their research, knowledge, and passion with the public.
In planning this year’s Festival, curators traveled throughout Mexico with partners from that country’s National Council for Culture and the Arts (Conaculta) and the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH); around the Asian Pacific American communities of the Washington, D.C., area with collaborators from the University of Maryland, George Mason University, and the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program; and within the museums, research centers, and workshops of the Smithsonian itself, guided by colleagues who are intimately familiar with many of the Institution’s hidden hallways and secluded collections seldom seen by members of the public. Through the Festival, visitors could meet, talk with, and learn from many of the most interesting people those curators and researchers have found in the course of their travels.
The 2010 Festival took place for two five- day weeks (June 24-28 & July 1-5) between Madison Drive and Jefferson Drive and between 10th Street and 14th Street, south of the National Museum of American History and the National Museum of Natural History. It featured three programs and the Rinzler Concert.