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Map graphic of the United States, with dozens of red dots indicating clickable information points. Overlaid in the top left corner is an award logo, reading: American Association of School Librarians / AASL 2020 Best Digital Tools for Teaching and Learning.

  • “Masters of Tradition” Map Recognized as a 2020 AASL Best Digital Tool

    On Monday, July 27, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) released its annual list of Best Digital Tools for Teaching & Learning. This year, the organization has recognized Masters of Tradition: A Cultural Journey Across America, an interactive story map developed in collaboration with the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Esri, as a 2020 AASL Best Digital Tool.

    The recognition honors electronic resources that provide enhanced learning and curriculum development for school librarians and their educator collaborators. See the full list of 2020 Best Digital Tools for Teaching & Learning.

    Showcasing the lives and work of the NEA’s National Heritage Fellows, the nation’s highest award in folk and traditional arts, Masters of Tradition facilitates student exploration of the great diversity of cultures, communities, and artistic traditions that enrich the United States.

    “The goal of the story map is to allow educators, students, and a wide general public to discover inspiring stories of the American experience and the beautiful diversity of communities and artistic expressions in this country,” explains Smithsonian Folklife curator Marjorie Hunt, who leads the story map project.

    Through abundant photographs, audio, video, short text, and first-person quotes, the multimedia-rich digital resource addresses a variety of key themes, including immigration and migration, identity, heritage, and community using Esri’s ArcGIS StoryMaps platform. Many of the video and audio recordings come from the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, showcasing recordings from Smithsonian Folkways and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

    “This wonderful story map provides students, teachers, and lifelong learners with a rich introduction to the diversity and richness of folk and traditional arts across the United States by introducing the many people and communities that sustain these important art forms,” says Michael Atwood Mason, director of the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. “At this difficult time, we are proud to support, inspire, and educate Americans with a suite of unparalleled digital offerings.”

    Explore Masters of Tradition online and in your virtual classrooms. More fellows will be added to the map in the coming months.

    Related Press Releases

    AASL announces Best Digital Tools for Teaching & Learning (July 27, 2020)
    “Masters of Tradition” Story Map Spotlights America’s Cultural Diversity (September 16, 2019)

  • Support the Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Cultural Vitality Program, educational outreach, and more.