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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Come Join Us at the 2017 Archives Fair!

As an archivist, ethnomusicologist, and musician working at the Smithsonian, I feel inspired when I have opportunities to work with colleagues within and beyond the Institution to provide public-facing platforms for dialogue. I get particularly enthusiastic when these events relate to the power of archival collections to provide context for the customs and traditions that shape the cultures in which we live. On Saturday, October 21, 2017, I will be participating in such an event at the National Museum of American History in the Coulter Performance Plaza and the SC Johnson Conference Center.

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the public is invited to celebrate American Archives Month at the 2017 Archives Fair with the theme Performance and Preservation. As described on the National Archives webpage, participants will explore “the ways in which the preservation of archival collections translates into the preservation of culture through the performance and artistry of individuals and communities across the United States and around the world.”

The Fair has four main features. First, a diverse range of musicians, dancers, singers, and performers will take the stage throughout the day in the Coulter Performance Plaza to illuminate the ways in which the archival record informs their work as artists. Second, a series of panel discussions in the SC Johnson Conference Center will reveal how archival documentation influences artistic expression, dance (bodies in motion), and access. Third, we will have representatives of over 20 archives and organizational repositories exhibiting at tables set up throughout Coulter Performance Plaza, sharing information about their archival work in a wide range of institutional, regional, and community contexts. Last (but definitely not least), visitors will have the rare opportunity to participate in a behind-the-scenes archives tour at the National Museum of American History’s Archives Center, home to some of the country’s most valuable archival collections.

Ultimately, this year’s event would not be happening were it not for the vision and collaboration between members of the National Archives Assembly, the Smithsonian Institution Archives and Special Collections Council, and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference DC and Maryland Caucuses. For more information about the schedule-of-events and a full list of the Fair’s participants, please visit the Archives Fair website and plan on arriving at the National Museum of American History when it opens at 10 a.m. The official welcoming and opening remarks will begin at 10:45 with the first performances and panel discussions taking place at 11!

We look forward to seeing you there!

Greg C. Adams, Assistant Archivist
Ralph Rinzler Folklife ArchivesSmithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage

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