El Río: Do-Your-Own
Welcome to El Río: Do-Your-Own-Exhibition Kit. This guide was originally designed as part of a traveling exhibition on the culture of the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo Basin, produced by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. Although the exhibition is no longer touring, these materials can be used by anyone, anywhere wishing to put together their own small exhibition.
This downloadable PDF guide takes you step by step through the process of creating your own exhibition. You will first learn how to collect stories and materials and then how to arrange them most effectively. The El Río cultural materials serve as one example of curating a small exhibition in your classroom, library, or cultural center.
The El Río exhibition was based on the 2000 Smithsonian Folklife Festival program.
Music from the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo area is available through Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. See, for example:
If you find these materials useful, or if you have any difficulty downloading or viewing them, please
The six videos above were produced for the El Río traveling exhibition, which opened in 2002. They also complement the themes addressed in the lesson plans and provide examples of how to produce stories on video for your own exhibitions. Exploring the themes of shrimping, ranching, conjunto music, piñata-making and a matachines fiesta, each of these videos demonstrates how the environment or history of a place can contribute to a community’s cultural identity.