Smithsonian Heritage Month Celebrations

ARTLAB+ Video Production Team

Documenting our heritage

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In celebration of different Heritage Months, throughout the year, the Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies hosts Family Day festivals at its various museums. Each festival invites visitors to share their family history and stories through the creation of a storybook. As an adjunct program, to the ARTLAB+ series, a core group of teens, documents these festivals using digital media.

A professional documentary filmmaker mentors and trains the teens on interview practices and technical video skills. During the event, the teen production team interviews visitors about their personal memories, recording them with state-of-the-art video equipment in an improvised studio environment. The professional filmmaker supervises the teens' work during the event, allowing the teens to take control of the shoot, while offering expert critique where necessary. The resulting video content is then placed in the hands of a teen video editor, working in the Hirshhorn ArtLab space, who works to edit the clips into a cohesive montage to represent the day.

Each teen has an opportunity to try out different jobs: cameraperson, interviewer, boom operator, sound monitor, and behind-the-scenes documentarian. After participating in the production team, teens have an understanding of what it takes to put a polished video together.

Photos from production:

Hugh, Claudio, and Noemi work with professional filmmaker Gabe Noble to frame an interview and conduct a sound check.

Victoria and Marsha record a young interviewee for Women's History Month.

During a production team training session, Sam and Noemi concentrate on camera work, while Pablo acts an interviewee.

Gabe and Augustin adjust the camera, while Zame controls the boom mic.