Key Ingredients: America by Food
July 18 - August 30, 2009
The food on the American table may not define exactly what we are as a nation, but the traditions surrounding our foods speak volumes about who we are. Key Ingredients: America by Food, a Smithsonian traveling exhibition, delves into the historical, regional, and social traditions that merge in everyday meals and celebrations of the American table.
Through a variety of artifacts, photographs, and illustrations, Key Ingredients examines how culture, ethnicity, class, landscape, and tradition have influenced the foods and flavors we enjoy across the nation. The exhibition looks at the evolution of the American kitchen and how food industries have responded to the technological innovations that have enabled Americans to choose an ever-wider variety of frozen, fresh and prepared foods It also addresses the entrepreneurial spirit on which many food-production companies are based, including pioneers such as Heinz, Campbell and Borden.
An interactive Web site, www.keyingredients.org, has been developed in conjunction with the exhibition. The site invites people across the country to share their family recipes and food stories, learn about other food traditions, and identify favorite small-town eateries. It also offers the public, particularly inhabitants of rural communities, a convenient forum for sharing their recipes, traditions, and family stories.
Key Ingredients is part of the Museum on Main Street program, a partnership of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and state humanities councils, which serves museums, libraries, and historical societies in rural America. The SITES—Federation of State Humanities Councils partnership, which began in 1994, was formed as a creative response to the challenge faced by rural museums to enhance their own cultural legacies. Major funding for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the U.S. Congress.
Thanks to SITES and Humanities Washington, Key Ingredients: America by Food will be served up at the Yakima Valley Museum from July 18 to August 30 this summer! Exhibit funding also provides for public programs related to the exhibit. These side dishes will be a Victorian Picnic at the H.M. Gilbert Homeplace on July 18 and free "food movie" nights on August 5 and 12.