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Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage

Cultural Education Resources

Tools for Learning

Find descriptions and downloads of guides, lesson plans, media programs, and other useful cultural educational materials produced by the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. Contact us if you have any trouble with downloads or need other guidance in using these materials.


The Smithsonian Folklife and Oral History Interviewing Guide
Download this comprehensive guide for conducting interviews with members of your own family and community.

Discovering Our Delta: A Learning Guide for Community Research
Watch a video that uses examples from real student research to demonstrate interview methods; download student and teacher guides.

Learning About Folklife
Download this guide about folklife and cultural research broken into four units, each supplemented by videos; focuses on the U.S. Virgin Islands and Senegal but can be applied to any region.

Land and Native American Cultures
Download a kit introducing students to Native American land use through three case studies in Arizona, Alaska, and the Andes.

Wisconsin Powwow / Naamikaaged: Dancer for the People
Purchase a two-video set with a forty-page booklet about ritual traditions of the Ojibwe people in northern Wisconsin.

Borders and Identity: Identidad y Frontera
Download a bilingual guide and watch videos exploring cultures along the United States-Mexico border.

El Río: Do Your Own Exhibition Kit
Download a guide to create your own exhibition in your classroom, library, or cultural center; includes six short video clips.

Masters of the Building Arts Activity Guide
Download a guide with hands-on activities and background information about the skills and traditions of master craftworkers in the building trades.

Bermuda Connections: A Cultural Resource for Classrooms
Download this toolkit to introduce students to the cultural identity and heritage of Bermuda; supplemental video features students interviewing tradition bearers in their communities.

Lesson Plans

Smithsonian Folkways Tools for Teaching
Download free lesson plans and activities to introduce students to a variety of music and culture. Find information on subscribing to streaming Folkways collections in your school. Learn about upcoming Folkways teacher workshops and certification program.


Workers at the White House
This DVD features the skills, knowledge, traditions, and memories of White House workers, including a 32-minute documentary video based on the 1992 Folklife Festival program and a 33-page booklet.

Smithsonian Folklife Festival Videos
View edited videos of past Smithsonian Folklife Festival programs, participants, and performances; learn more about maximizing your experience at the Festival.

Smithsonian Folkways Videos
View videos related to Folkways Recordings, arranged by geographical and cultural area; useful for Heritage Month curricula.


Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
Explore all that the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings site has to offer, including curated features and an online magazine. Use the search function to find the music of various cultural groups. Order CDs or download selections.

More Tools

Online Exhibitions and Special Features
Curated pages create a rich cultural experience; many include lesson plans. The next best thing to a trip to a museum or to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival!

Publications and Media
Order or download in-depth publications and media products from past cultural projects including the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

Folkways Soundscapes Features
Short curated pieces on a variety of cultural subjects with related Folkways Recordings and other helpful links.

Smithsonian Folklife Festival
Learn about past, present, and upcoming Festival programs.

Resource Links
Links to other helpful cultural education sites.

Born in Washington, D.C., in 1881, Rosina Tucker helped to organize the first Black labor union — the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. For her family, neighbors, and members of her church community, Mrs. Tucker was a valued source of knowledge, wisdom, and local history. She is featured in The Smithsonian Folklife and Oral History Interviewing Guide. Photograph by Paul Wagner.

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