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Central American Traditions Festival: Demonstrations, Interviews, and How-To Videos

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Design +7 Age Levels Primary (5 to 8 years old), Elementary (9 to 12 years old), Middle School (13 to 15 years old), High School (16 to 18 years old), Post-Secondary, Adults

This collection comes from a Hispanic Heritage Month family festival celebrating Central American traditions, and in support of an exhibition at the National Museum of the American Indian, "Ceramica de los ancestros: Central America's Past Revealed." Held at the National Museum of American History, the festival featured a sampling of music and dance performances, food demonstrations, and hands-on activities. The museum's terrace featured fair tables that included demonstrations of foods such as papusas and tamales, traditional weaving from Guatemala using a back strap loom, and musical and dance performances, including El Salvadoran chanchona by Los Hermanos Lovo, garifuna by the New York-based group Bodoma, and Latin punk rock by DC-based Machetes. Inside, activities included designing a family "bandera" (flag), making a clay cacao pot, making "alfombras" or carpets, which are temporary artworks made with sawdust based on a 400-year-old Guatemalan tradition, a lecture on Central American ceramics with Alex Benitez, archeologist and George Mason University professor, and engaging in conversations about immigration based on objects in the museum's teaching collections.