Five Questions with Christopher Hartten, Archivist in the Music Division

As an archivist in the Music Division, I am fortunate to put my hands on historical documents every day for the purpose of eventually putting them into yours, either by showcasing them in person, sharing them through interactive digital exhibits, or indirectly highlighting them by facilitating the scholarship of other patrons.

Asking Students to Re-Imagine a Living Newspaper Play with Playbills from the Federal Theatre Project

In the May 2019 issue of Social Education, the journal of the National Council for the Social Studies, our “Sources and Strategies” article discusses the Federal Theatre Project. The article focuses on one play, One Third of a Nation, a Living Newspaper production. Living Newspaper productions addressed social issues of the day, typically presenting factual information in mostly fictionalized ways to audiences.

Primary Sources Through Musical Learning: Exploring the Cuban-American Musical Heritage of Emilio and Gloria Estefan Part 2 — Cultural Memory and Musical Legacies

This year, the Library of Congress celebrates the artistry of Emilio and Gloria Estefan, recipients of the 2019 Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. In their honor we explore a Cuban-American recording from the Library of Congress that leads us to an exciting game, a groundbreaking educational institution, and a deeper appreciation for America’s diverse cultural communities.

Primary Sources for Musical Learning: Exploring the Cuban-American Musical Heritage of Emilio and Gloria Estefan–Diversity and Identity in “The Great Melting Pot”

Cuban-American music has a strong heritage that inspired the Estefans’ work. Exploring Cuban-American music through primary sources at the Library of Congress can lead students to exciting music and thoughtful inquiry about cultural identity.

Primary Sources for Musical Learning: Celebrating the Public Domain and Engaging Creatively with Primary Sources

By understanding a work’s original context, intent, message, and audience, creators can use cultural referents to frame new ideas. Public-domain classics achieve a continually evolving immortality as they are re-imagined by new generations of creative minds. Public domain works, through creative adaptation, can be used to create a commentary on the original work, engage contemporary issues, create opportunities for cross-cultural dialogue, and promote cultural change.

Supporting and Critiquing America during WWII: Primary Sources from the Fort Valley Music Festivals

The multidimensional nature of music allows artists to explore and communicate complex perspectives. Through exploring the Fort Valley recordings, students can discern how performers connect musical elements and cultural referents to create strong, nuanced messages.