Curators and scholars at the Center are specialists in the fields of cultural heritage, cultural studies, ethnomusicology, folklore, area and policy studies. Our research is grounded in collaborative and community-oriented approaches. We study and develop educational and public programs and produce online resources on traditional knowledge and expressive culture, including craft, language vitality, and performance, among other practices. Our research and curation shape the rich programming of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and the Mother Tongue Film Festival, the releases of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, and our Cultural Sustainability initiatives.
Our researchers contribute to journals, magazines, and award-winning books. We support our fields by taking leadership positions in national professional organizations and participating as members of national academies and international research projects. Center scholars also teach college and university courses, develop community training programs, and serve as mentors to visiting fellows from the United States and around the world, sponsored by Fulbright, Smithsonian, and other programs.