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Food History at the National Museum of American History

What is Food History Weekend?

Every year, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History brings together food innovators, activists, educators, entrepreneurs, chefs, and scholars for conversations, cooking demonstrations, and hands-on activities with museum visitors to inspire a broader understanding of the history of food in America and the role we all play in shaping the future of food.

Due to the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the Smithsonian’s 6th annual Food History Weekend will be presented in a virtual format in 2020. Although we will miss welcoming our many audiences and special guests to the National Museum of American History, the health and safety of our audiences and staff are of primary importance. Rest assured that we have developed a dynamic series of online talks, demonstrations, interactive conversations, and activities around this year’s theme, Food Futures: Striving for Justice.

Food Futures will feature the voices of people involved in different aspects of the food system—from agricultural fields to restaurant kitchens, from food markets to food banks, from breweries to street food trucks, from classrooms to community centers. Our virtual gatherings will encourage people to share stories of resilience and creative relationship-building in the wake of unprecedented economic, cultural, and public health challenges. We will also explore models for food production and learn about many grassroots efforts across the country that have responded to the crisis. As we experience the energy and optimism of entrepreneurs, activists, and innovators in both food and drink, we will engage in some collective brainstorming on strategies for building a better food system together.

What is the Smithsonian Food History Gala?

The Smithsonian Food History Gala from Home kicks off the 2020 Food History Weekend focusing on Food Futures: Striving for Justice. The Gala from Home features the sixth annual and first public presentation of the Julia Child Award to Danielle Nierenberg, Co-Founder and President, Food Tank by the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts. We will be joined by many special guests from around the globe.

The Gala from Home is free to attend. However, we rely on contributions to support this and other ongoing work of the Smithsonian American Food History Project at the National Museum of American History, including important new initiatives, which will help us to:

  • Establish a paid internship program to provide mentoring and professional learning experiences to candidates from communities that are underrepresented in the museum and food history fields. Internships are an important way to build inclusive museums in the future.

  • Make Smithsonian food history resources more widely accessible to all. Your support will help us create and sustain a more robust digital presence with our food history collections, research, and programs, including the popular Cooking Up History conversations and demonstrations that feature guest chefs and cooks from around the country.
Please consider donating. For additional information on how you can get involved, click here.
Weekend Events

Thursday, October 15, 2020

6:30 P.M. ET

Gala From Home: Smithsonian Food History Gala from Home

FRIDAY, October 16, 2020

11:00 A.M. ET

Deep Dish Dialogue: Why Food Justice Matters

1:00 P.M. ET

Deep Dish Dialogue: What is Food Justice

3:00 P.M. ET

Cooking Up History: Resilient Culinary Traditions within the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma with Chef Nico Albert

7:00 P.M. ET

Last Call: Beer Futures

SATURDAY, October 17, 2020

11:00 A.M. ET

Deep Dish Dialogue: COVID-19 And Hunger

1:00 P.M. ET

Deep Dish Dialogue: A Better Deal for Food Workers

2:00 P.M. ET

Cooking Up History: La Vida Verde L.A. with Chef Jocelyn Ramirez

3:00 P.M. ET

Cooking Up History: Living Lively: Youth Empowerment through Food with Chef Haile Thomas
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