Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage Launches New Digital Magazine and Redesigned Websites

May 15, 2017
News Release
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Screenshot of new website

The Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage has announced the launch of its new digital magazine, Folklife, and its redesigned Folkways and Festival websites. The new sites, produced in collaboration with the Boston-based design firm Visual Dialogue, provide visitors with updated features and expanded access to collections.

Folklife, the Center’s newly launched online magazine, showcases stories of music, food, craft and culture—all with a focus on community voices. Featured work includes opinion, multimedia and photo-essay pieces that together examine the power and relevance of tradition and creativity.

“With Folklife, we hope to tell unforgettable stories about people, ideas and a wide array of arts and traditions that help us explore where we have come from and where we are going,” said Michael Atwood Mason, Center director. “The magazine will delve into the complex lives of individuals and communities to find what inspires and motivates people as they respond to animating questions at the center of contemporary life.” 

Among the highlights of the redesign is a new Smithsonian Folkways Recordings site, which features an improved searchable database and enhanced video players that provide visitors with better access to the record label’s online collections, educational resources and multimedia features. Since its acquisition by the Smithsonian in 1987, Folkways has published over 3,600 recordings; this new site improves access to all of the label’s 58,000 tracks, free liner notes and in-depth artist profiles.

Visitors to the new Smithsonian Folklife Festival site, optimized for viewing on mobile devices, can explore Festival schedules, program books and blog posts—all with high-quality images and faster-loading pages. Intended to be a resource for in-person and online visitors to the Festival, the site features an on- and off-season interface, which provides easy access to program schedules during the Festival and myriad resources, including articles and podcasts, in its off-season.

“At a time when living culture has a profound role to play in fostering mutual understanding, I am especially proud that we are evolving globally with these new digital platforms and collaborating with partners to bring these stories of cultural diversity to light,” Mason said. 

About the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage

The Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage promotes the understanding and sustainability of cultural heritage and diversity across the United States and around the world through research, education and community engagement. The Center produces the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival, is the home of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, maintains and makes accessible the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, shares extensive research and educational materials and produces cultural heritage policy for the benefit of communities around the world. For more information, visit Follow the Center on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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