Smithsonian Institution
Talk Story
Festival Blog
Festival Radio
Smithsonian Folkways Magazine

Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage


The Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage produces the Smithsonian Folklife Festival which has generated a number of related publications. In addition, the Center produces the Talk Story newsletter, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, documentary films and videos, educational materials and curricula, a scholarly monograph series, and exhibitions.

Smithsonian Folklife Festival:
Culture Of, By, and For the People

by Richard Kurin

This book provides a Festival history, an explanation of how the Festival is produced, analysis of various programs, and some of the best images and quotes about the Festival over the past 32 years.

200+ full color photos, 184 pages
ISBN: 0-9665520-0-8
Order from Folkways

The Stone Carvers:
Master Craftsmen of Washington National Cathedral

by Marjorie Hunt

This book presents the lives and work of two Italian American master stone carvers--Roger Morigi and Vincent Palumbo--who have spent decades creating the many sculptures and decorations that embellish Washington National Cathedral. Exploring the carvers' underlying aesthetic attitudes, Hunt reveals the spirit of creativity and mastery that infuses their work. She describes their backgrounds and apprenticeships in Italy, showing how memory and tradition continue to shape their art. The book records the stone-carving process, highlighting the complex body of technical knowledge and skill that carvers bring to their work. Based on nearly two decades of fieldwork and research, this generously illustrated book resounds with the stone carvers' voices -- with their memories, stories, and experiences, their values and ideals.

$19.95, Smithsonian Books, 1999
100 duotone photographs, 8 x 10, 208 pages
ISBN: 1-56098-829-0 (paperback)
The Stone Carvers is distributed by Random House Publisher Services (RHPS)
Order on  or call 1-800-733-3000

Reflections of a Culture Broker:
A View from the Smithsonian

by Richard Kurin, with an introduction by I. Michael Heyman

Drawing on his diverse experiences in producing exhibitions and public programs, the Smithsonian's Richard Kurin challenges culture brokers--museum professionals, filmmakers, journalists, festival producers, scholars, etc.--to reveal more clearly the nature of their interpretations. Kurin discusses the ethical and technical problems faced by anyone charged with representing culture in a public forum.

Smithsonian Institution Press, 1997
ISBN: 156098757X
Order from Folkways

The New American Cooking

by Joan Nathan

The New American Cooking by Food Culture USA guest curator, Joan Nathan, is based on years of fieldwork in communities across the United States. Like the Food Culture USA Festival program, the book explores the increased diversity of American food over the last 40 years. Through the voices of cooks, chefs, and growers, Nathan describes the union of tradition and innovation in the contemporary American food landscape.

$35.00, Alfred A. Knopf, 2005
ISBN: 1-4000-4034-5
Order on

The Trial Lawyer's Art

by Sam Schrager

Based on research conducted by the author for the Trial Lawyers program at the 1986 Festival, The Trial Lawyer's Art looks at trial lawyers as storytellers who artfully employ plot conventions to make their case.

Order on

Llamas, Weavings, and Organic Chocolate

by Kevin Healy

"Llamas, Weavings, and Organic Chocolate is an extraordinary achievement based on twenty years of scholarship, fieldwork, and grassroots development work in Bolivia. Here is a candid, vivid, and inspiring 'inside view' of local projects, which are redefining the meaning of development and forcing Bolivia to come to terms with its rich multi-cultural heritage. It is an essential book for Latin American scholars, students, NGOs, and activists committed to cultural pluralism, grassroots democracy, and biodiversity in the new global order. Perhaps even more so, this book should be required reading at the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the IMF."
- Dr. Brooke Larson, Department of History, SUNY-Stony Brook

$24.00 paperback edition, 485 pages
20% discount from University of Notre Dame Press
ISBN: 0-268-01326-8
Order on

Talk Story Newsletter

“Talk story” is a Hawaiian expression, used as a noun or verb, meaning “an informal chat” or “to chat informally.” Between 2004 and 2008, the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage published the Talk Story electronic newsletter bi-monthly. These are now available to view or download as PDFs.