Smithsonian Hosts Premiere of “Waking the Ancestors: Recovering the Lost Sacred Sounds of Colonial America” A Production by Plimoth Plantation

October 13, 2016

On Nov. 5 and 6, the museum will present the first in a new program series, called “Sounds of Faith, centered on religious musical traditions. Developed in partnership with Plimoth Plantation, a Smithsonian Affiliate, “Waking the Ancestors: Recovering the Lost Sacred Sounds of Colonial America” will use both theater and music to illustrate the intersection of European religious music with that of the indigenous peoples of New England. This program will be performed by Plimoth Plantation's Wampanoag and Colonial living history educators.

Saturday, Nov. 5, 6 – 7 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 6, 2 – 3 p.m.;
Warner Bros. Theater, First Floor

The arrival of the Mayflower on the shores of North America in 1620 forever transformed the lives of those living on the continent. This documentary theater program, created by Plimoth Plantation and led by Richard Pickering, the organization’s deputy executive director, explores the intersection of two musical traditions: hymns and psalms from the Church of England and Calvinist congregations and the sacred songs and dance of the Wampanoag, the indigenous people of Cape Cod, the Islands and southern Massachusetts. Free tickets are available here:

“The Spiritual Worlds of the Pilgrims and Wampanoag”
Sunday, Nov. 6, 11:30 – 12:30 p.m.
Flag Hall, Second Floor

Plimoth Plantation’s Wampanoag and Colonial living history educators will hold short conversations, demonstrate instruments and perform rounds, songs and ballads related to early colonial religion and Wampanoag spirituality and language.

This set of programs is part of the museum’s new comprehensive initiative to explore the role of religion in America. Support for the religion initiative comes from the Lilly Endowment Inc., a private philanthropic organization that funds religion, education and community development programs.

The museum is located at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W., and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free. For more information, visit For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000.

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