National Museum of American History, food history, culinary programs, museum audience, shared authority


Museums and historic sites have incorporated food-related material into their exhibitions and programs over many years. The extent to which culinary content draws tourists is difficult to pinpoint, but organizations have found that food-related exhibitions, programs, and events resonate in important ways with travelers and local residents alike. In the past two decades, more museums have moved beyond simply adding food and drink components to their programming calendars, and have built entire initiatives around food research, collecting, and public engagement involving critical issues such as migration, cultural representation, equity and accessibility, and environmental sustainability. The American Food History Project at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History (NMAH) in Washington, D.C., is one such initiative and serves as a case study.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.