Central American Traditions Focus of Smithsonian’s Hispanic Heritage Month

Music and Dance Performances, Hands-on Activities and Fun Sept. 15
August 30, 2012
News Release

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Central American traditions will be celebrated at the Smithsonian’s Hispanic Heritage Month family day Saturday, Sept. 15, between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the National Museum of American History. The day will feature a sampling of music and dance performances as well as food demonstrations and hands-on arts and crafts. The Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies brings together the National Museum of American History, the Smithsonian Latino Center and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden to present the Central American Traditions Family Day.

The museum’s terrace, which faces the National Mall, will feature fair tables that include demonstrations of foods such as pupusas and tamales, traditional weaving from Guatemala using a back strap loom and musical and dance performances, including the New York-based band, Bodoma. Inside, activities include designing a family bandera (flag), making alfombras or carpets, which are temporary artworks made with sawdust and based on a 400-year-old Guatemalan tradition, a lecture on Central American ceramics with Alex Benitez, archeologist and George Mason University professor, and engaging in conversations about immigration based on objects in the museum’s teaching collections.

Below is a full schedule of events for the Central American Traditions Family Day:

Ongoing Activities

  • Fair Tables (Mall Terrace)
  • Immigration Cart Conversations at the “American Stories” exhibition (second floor, East Wing)
  • Design Your Own Family Bandera (Flag) Book Activity with Sushmita Mazumdar (second floor, West Wing)
  • Color and Discover: A Journey through Central America’s Past with an A to Z bilingual activity book based on Smithsonian ceramics (second floor, West Wing)
  • Make and Take: Cacao and Central American ceramics (second floor, West Wing)
  • Alfombra making with Artist Ubaldo Sanchez Hernandez (second floor, Flag Hall)
  • ArtLAB + Interviews: Youth Production Media Group interviews families about immigration stories (first floor, center—Reception Suite)

Scheduled Programs

  • 11 a.m. Food Demonstrations with Restaurant Associates chefs
  • Noon Weaving with Sheba (a back strap loom is used to demonstrate Guatemalan arts)
  • 12:30 p.m. Concert by Los Hermanos Lovo ¡Chanchona, Soy Salvadoreño!
  • 1 p.m. “Cerámica de los Ancestros” lecture with archaeologist Alexander Benitez (third floor west, Hall of Musical Instruments)
  • 2 p.m. Dance and Concert by New York-based group, Bodoma
  • 3:15 p.m. ¡Chanchona, Soy Salvadoreño!
  • 4:15 p.m. Concert by Machetres, Latin Rock (Mall Terrace)

All scheduled programs take place on the National Museum of American History Mall Terrace unless otherwise noted.

The Central American Traditions Family Day is made possible by lead sponsor Univision. Additional support is provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund, and the program also received federal support from the Latino Initiatives Pool administered through the Smithsonian Latino Center. For a complete listing of Hispanic Heritage Month programs at the Smithsonian, visit Heritage Month.

The National Museum of American History collects, preserves and displays American heritage in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific and military history. To learn more about the museum, visit americanhistory.si.edu. For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000.

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Media Only

Melinda Machado

(202) 633-3129


National Museum of American History
Press Office

(202) 633-3129