At a moment when globalization has accelerated cultural change to new levels, the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage excels in its commitment to curiosity, exchange, and understanding. Here, we bring rich and diverse stories to the fore—critical perspectives on the issues that move us.
In doing so, we pose new questions about our underlying convictions: Where have we come from? Where are we going? And what brings us together at a time when so much pulls us apart?
We have come a long way in answering those questions, but there is still more to do.
Over the next five years, the Center will explore these and other questions through new scholarship and partnerships, expanded Folklife Festival and Smithsonian Folkways offerings, new cultural sustainability projects in communities near and far, and unprecedented digital access to the cultural knowledge held in our archives. Collectively, these initiatives highlight the work of individuals in communities and the shared humanity we uncover when we invite them to tell their stories.
That is the spirit that every single one of us—directors, curators, , educators, archivists, and program staff—need to provide for our communities and the individuals who comprise them. That is what stirs and propels us forward every single day: our spirit of inquiry and the understanding that curiosity inspires.
Michael Atwood Mason
Director, Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
Through the power of culture, we build understanding, strengthen communities, and reinforce our shared humanity.
Sustaining the world’s cultural diversity
Goal 1: Lead the global community of cultural heritage professionals and scholars in building cultural understanding
Goal 2: Connect people through diverse cultural experiences
Goal 3: Champion cultural vitality in diverse communities
Goal 4: Increase organizational capacity to achieve our mission