Big miss from the 2007 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Boat on the Mekong

In case you aren’t aware, every Summer here in DC the Smithsonian runs the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. It is an often entertaining – and always obscenely hot – display of three different geographic areas and the culture thereof. The 2007 Festival kicks off soon, and I was interested to see the title of one of the three subject areas: “Mekong River:
Connecting Cultures.” Cool, I thought, there should be a fascinating collection of boats.

And yet, not. I looked at the schedule for the Mekong River program, and I see some important topics, but nothing about the boats. Eh? Folks, how big a miss can you make? It’s a river and you are talking about connecting cultures! What is connecting them?! Boats!! How do you miss this? They did manage to get a picture of one, but I find it hard to believe that there aren’t traditional boat builders they could find (the festival brings native artisans over for the duration). Hopefully when we go I’ll find that they simply didn’t list this feature…

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