Now through September 9th, the Smithsonian Institution is setting up shop in San Diego’s Museum of Man for the Ramp It Up exhibit, which explores skateboard culture in Native American and Hawaiian communities. The exhibit comes with its own half pipe mini-ramp which anyone can skate – all included with museum admission! Smart Destinations travelers will know that admission to the Museum of Man comes with our Go San Diego Card, so the Museum's temporary half-pipe is an exciting and completely free add-on to the already extensive list of San Diego attractions. For those who don't skateboard, the exhibit also offers unique images, videos, and over twenty skate decks created by Native American artists. This is the exhibit's first time outside of the Smithsonian, and it's time in San Diego is limited - Ramp It Up will continue on to California, Pennsylvania on September 9th. Here's a look at why the exhibit is an important one to visit, and what there is to see while there's still time:
Skateboarding and Native American CultureThe Smithsonian puts it best when describing the intersection of skateboard and Native American cultures:
“Skate culture is a great lens to learn about both traditional and contemporary Native American culture,” said Betsy Gordon, curator of “Ramp It Up.” “This exhibition not only showcases the Native skater but also the Native elders, parents, government officials and community activists who have encouraged their kids to skate.”The skateboard itself, popular in the United States since the 1960s, began as a way for Native Hawaiian to surf without the waves. Over time, the sport's popularity spread to Native American communities and reservations and the world at large. Today, skateboarding is a five-billion-dollar industry that includes everything from shoes and apparel to camps, competitions, music tours and more. In Native American communities, the sport's also inspired entrepreneurship and a hard work ethic, according to the Museum of Man; this is seen in the rise of Native American owned skateboard companies as well as the number of Native artists and filmmakers who take their inspiration from skateboarding.