Smithsonian Folklife Festival Accessible to Visitors with Disabilities

June 20, 2011
News Release

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The Smithsonian Institution is committed to making the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival accessible and enjoyable for visitors with disabilities. The 2011 Festival features “Colombia: The Nature of Culture,” “The Peace Corps: Fifty Years of Promoting World Peace and Friendship” and “Rhythm and Blues: Tell It Like It Is.”

The 10-day Festival, held outdoors on the National Mall between Seventh and 14th streets, will take place from Thursday, June 30, through Monday, July 4, and Thursday, July 7, through Monday, July 11. Admission is free. Festival hours are from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day, with concerts, special events and dance parties extending into most evenings.

Visitors with disabilities who need assistance are advised to report to the Information kiosks located at various points around the Festival site or to the Volunteer tent located in the Festival Services area near the Smithsonian Metrorail station’s Mall exit. A large-print version of the Festival’s daily schedule and food concession menus will be available. The Festival program book is available on CD and in other formats on request. A limited number of wheelchairs will be available at the Volunteer tent for loan.

American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters will be on site to interpret selected performances and presentations clearly indicated on the daily Festival schedule. An additional ASL interpreter is on site each day and can be reached via the Volunteer tent for visitors with requests beyond the scheduled events. Real-time captioning (CART) will be provided for selected performances and presentations.  The Festival schedule will be marked when and where CART will be available.      

Verbal-description and tactile tours are scheduled for Saturday, July 2, and Friday, July 8, at 1:30 p.m. for visitors who are blind or have low vision; reservations may be made by emailing To request other access services not listed above, such as real-time captioning, the public may call (202) 633-2921 (voice) or email All music-stage locations are equipped with audio loops. The Smithsonian Folklife Festival welcomes all service animals.

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