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published: March 2004
Explaining One of Mexico's Most Vital Musical Traditions:
The Corridos sin Fronteras Traveling Exhibition and
Educational Web Site
Session: "Just" an Exhibition
Museums are fundamental for communities to protect their identity and for their cultural preservation. By expanding outreach efforts and providing the community with access to knowledge and information, museums contribute greatly to strengthening the communities' capability to confront the challenges that 21st century globalization presents. A traveling exhibition organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) titled, Corridos sin Fronteras, includes an educational web site that is designed to archive and explain one of Mexico's musical and historical traditions, "the corrido" a Mexican folk ballad.
The Corridos web site (www.corridos.org) was designed and developed by Interactive Knowledge (IK). The site is completely bilingual and designed to make the content from the Corridos sin Fronteras exhibition widely accessible. One critical goal at the outset of the web site design project was to make sure that the content was regarded as the Mexican cultural treasure that it is. In order to do that, SITES insisted that the English and Spanish languages be treated as equal in importance to visitors to the site. One result is that the language can be switched on any screen. There is an option at the top of each screen that allows users to switch languages at will.
In this fast changing world, technology and the use of multimedia experiences in museums are effective and accessible solutions that help museums achieve their goals of community outreach and meeting the community's demands. This paper will address philosophical principles and practical applications on the use of multimedia experiences in museums. By using the exhibition Corridos sin Fronteras: A New World Ballad Tradition as a model, panelists will analyze technological and outreach strategies and the public's response to new multimedia learning experiences, and how it can enrich the museum experience for a diverse community.