Smithsonian on iTunes

A nugget to add to the “who knew?!” category…

We recently got an announcement that Smithsonian’s Global Sound, a program of the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, had launched a new section on the iTunes store in the iTunes U section called ‘Beyond Campus.’ One of only 6 organizations featured in this new project (with MoMA, American Public Media and others), this site gives free access to lesson plans, education kits, and videos that utilize and relate to Global Sound recordings for sale on SI websites and in the iTunes store.

alhaj.jpg  It’s fabulous. For example, I watched a three-minute video of the 2007 Teacher of the Year talk about how she used Global Sound to introduce her students to the music of Zimbabwe, and to explain the different classifications of instruments. I watched a short video of Iraqi virtuoso Rahim Alhaj record a song on the oud. (I didn’t know what an oud was either! the ” (ōōd) ” is a pear-shaped, stringed instrument similar to a lute used in traditional Middle Eastern music.  See picture above.) I downloaded the Center’s fantastic Oral History Interviewing Guide. You can search the site by instrument, culture, country, genre.. you name it.

How can Affiliates use this? Why not consider SI Global Sound next time you’d like to add a soundtrack to your African art exhibit? Do you have musical instruments in your collection, and need ideas for fresh ways to interpret them to your audiences? Chances are, Global Sound has a lesson plan or a video of someone playing the instrument, that you can share with your visitors.

So for fun while surfing around iTunes, I searched for ‘Smithsonian’ to see what else they might have. Need a new podcast to listen to on your way to work by chance?!
si podcast.jpg  The Institution’s podcasts are collected here. Some are familiar – the Hirshhorn and the Freer/Sackler presented theirs at an Affiliations Conference a few years ago. But have you heard Cheetah Chat from the National Zoo? Interested in hearing about what Smithsonian scientists are researching these days? The Undersecretary of Science has a podcast to share our findings. NMAI is producing fabulous podcasts that are audio or video recordings of their concerts, public art projects, or particular objects in their exhibitions (like a Tlingit elder describing the craftsmanship and story behind a Brown Bear Clan Hat from Alaska).

The depths of content and possible applications to plumb here are very deep… have fun!