Wednesday 3 November 2004
Jennie Harre Hindmarsh
The eminent Dr Richard Kurin, director of the Smithsonian's National Programs and the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, in Washington DC, visited New Zealand and Australia for a series of public forums.
For 158 years, the Smithsonian Institute has remained true to it's mission, "the increase and diffision of knowledge". Today, the Smithsonian is not only the world' largest provider of museum experiences supported by authoritative scholarship in science, history and the arts, but also an international leader in scientific research and exploration. The Smithsonian offers the world a picture of America, and America a picture of the world.
The Smithsoanian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage promotes the understanding the continuity of grass root cultures. The Center produces the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, numerous exhibitions, films and videos, symposia and educational materials. The Center instigates cultural policy reseach, maintains a documentary and archival collection, produces documentary films and videos; offers fellowships and training programs for educators, curators, arts managers and community scholars.
In September of 2004 Dr Kurin produced the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian and the First Americans Festival, an immense program which brought together 75 thousand Native Americans. The historic DC Mall was host to indigeous Americans from the rain forest of Amazon, Central American, North Dakota all the way to Alaska and Northern Canada.
Dr Kruin is a cultural broken and curator and an expert on culturally diverse festivals, recordings and public educational programs. At the Smithsonian he oversees traveling exhibitions, public programs and lectures, education and museum studies and a network of more than 100 affiliate musems. He is currently working on a project Smithsonian Global Sound to offer digital downloads of music on the web from a network of the world's archives. He advises the Rockerfeller Foundation, the Library of Congress, UNESCO, and has worked with cultural organisitions, sponsors, and the media in more than 50 nations and in more than 50 region of the United States.
Dr Kurin is an expert on indigenous knowledge systems, social and cultural change, heritage, musem practice and cultural representation. His publications include Reflections of a Culture Broker: A View from the Smithsonian, Aditi: The Living Arts of India and Smithsonian Folklife Festival: Culture of, By, and For the People. Dr Kurin is a former Fulbright fellow with a PhD in cultural anthropology from the University of Chicago.
Dr Kurin produced the Smithsonian's 150th Anniversary Birthday Party, the White House Millenium Council for the Atlanta Olympics, and a number of U.S. presidential inaugural programs. He was awarded the Smithsonian Secretary's Gold Medal for Exceptional Service and the Botkin Prize for lifetime achievement in public programs.
Recorded at the Rangimarie-2 Room, Te Papa
Tongarewa, Wellington on Wednesday 3 November 2004. This video is viewable
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