Smithsonian and National Park Service Sign Agreement for Use of National Mall for Annual Folklife Festival

June 25, 2014
News Release
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The Smithsonian and the National Park Service today entered into a memorandum of agreement that commits to keeping the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall for the next five years. The MOA was signed during the Festival’s opening ceremony by Richard Kurin, the Smithsonian’s Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture, and Bob Vogel, the National Park Service’s superintendent of the National Mall.

The Smithsonian and the National Park Service have partnered for more than 40 years to present the annual Folklife Festival, and this general agreement reaffirms that the Festival is “‘a symbol and icon of our nation and its ideals’ and a historically important celebration of cultural free expression.” The Smithsonian and the National Park Service are committed to continuing this partnership and working collaboratively to preserve the cultural and natural resources of the National Mall and produce the annual Folklife Festival.

The MOA states that the Festival will be held on the National Mall between Seventh and 14th streets and Madison and Jefferson drives for the next five years whenever possible, and it will be guided by National Park Service regulations and resource-management policies. As stated in the MOA, the National Park Service will work with the Smithsonian to find a suitable alternative location on the National Mall between Third and Seventh streets for the 2015 Festival during the major turf-renovation project that will begin this summer and conclude in spring 2016.

The Smithsonian and the National Park Service will jointly commission and manage the upcoming “Mall Tree Study,” which will establish a scientific consensus on the effect of low-impact activities on the National Mall’s elm trees. The study’s findings will be used to guide and formulate responsible future management of the tree panels by the National Park Service and their use by the Festival and other permitted activities.

About the Smithsonian Folklife Festival

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival, inaugurated in 1967, honors people from across the United States and around the world. With approximately 1 million visitors each year, the Festival unites presenters and performers in the nation’s capital to celebrate the diversity of cultural traditions. It is produced by the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.

About the National Park Service

More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit the National Park Service at or on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.  

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