The Smithsonian Food History Festival

Smithsonian Food History Festival and After Hours

A full day of free activities and experiences celebrating food history for visitors of all ages.

Saturday, October 29 • 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 - 9 p.m.

About | First Floor | Second Floor | Third Floor Outside | After Hours 


ABOUT

The Food History Festival is a free day of hands-on learning, live demonstrations, talks, and stories exploring the past, present and future of food and community in America. Talented chefs, local organizations, experts, museum curators, students, and more will be on hand to spark conversation, lead activities, and dig into food history with museum visitors of all ages. All activities are free, events in the Warner Bros. Theater require free registration.

One important thing to know about the Smithsonian Food History Festival: there are no food tastings available at this festival; just food history! There are however, lots of things to do and if you do get hungry while visiting, the museum has a cafeteria on the lower level that will be serving an amazing spread of food by the museum’s chef.

Continue the food history fun after the festival ends with The Great History of American Brewing, a ticketed evening event exploring the history of beer and brewing in America (21+ only, please!).

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FIRST FLOOR

LIVE COOKING DEMONSTRATIONS

Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, 1 West

Catch live cooking, tricks, and demonstrations in the museum’s demonstration kitchen. Free to attend.

10:30 AM - 11:00 AM: 
Cookies and Kindness with Dorie Greenspan

11:45 AM - 12:15 PM: 
Presidential Plates with Adrian Miller and Ailsa Von Dobeneck

1:15 PM - 1:45 PM: 
Cook's Science by America's Test Kitchen with Molly Birnbaum and Dan Souza

2:30 PM - 3:00 PM: 
Soul Food Love with Alice Randall and Caroline Randall Williams

3:45 PM - 4:15 PM: 
Bring It: Potluck Politics with Cathy Barrow

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Boy scraping an avocado
THE KIDS TABLE

Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, 1 West

A place for young budding chefs to participate alongside the cooking demos while expanding their chef skills by touching, smelling, looking, and doing. Open during each cooking demo; free to attend.


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Man signing a book
MEET-THE-AUTHOR CULINARY BOOK SIGNINGS

Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, 1 West

Meet and have books signed by the cooking demo chefs and authors after each demonstration. Free to attend; all books will be available for purchase on site.

11:00 AM - 11:30 AM: 
Dorie Greenspan signs Dorie's Cookies

12:15 PM - 12:45 PM:
Adrian Miller signs Soul Food

1:45 PM - 2:15 PM: 
Molly Birnbaum and Dan Souza sign Cook's Science

3:00 PM - 3:30 PM: 
Alice Randall and Caroline Randall Williams sign Soul Food Love

4:15 PM - 4:45 PM 
Cathy Barrow signs Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry Techniques

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Kids and an adult playing at a station in Spark Lab
SPARK!LAB CULINARY ACTIVITIES

Spark!Lab, 1 West

A space for curious culinary minds  ages 6 to 12 to create, collaborate, explore, test, experiment, and invent. Free to attend.

10:00 AM - 4:00 PM: 
Reuse Plastic Grocery Bags
Help the planet by sharing your ideas for ways to use plastic grocery bags instead of throwing them away.

10:00 AM - 4:00 PM: 
Reinventing the Shopping Cart
Sketch your ideas for improving the shopping cart or invent a brand new way to transport your groceries.

10:00 AM - 4:00 PM: 
Can You Invent a New Kitchen Gadget?
Use the materials at the Hub to invent a new gadget to solve your kitchen challenges.

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Woman holds a poster next to a man while both seated onstage
DEEP DISH DIALOGUES

Warner Bros. Theater, 1 Center

Join curators, authors, and foodies alike as they dig into deeper subjects and stories about how food and politics are connected in American history. Free registration required.

10:45 AM - 11:45 AM: 
A Roadtrip through the Road Food Archives with Jane and Michael Stern
Register now!
Join us for a lively conversation with Jane and Michael Stern, writers best known for the Roadfood series exploring American regional cuisine, as we explore a selection of objects. Free registration required.

12:30 PM - 1:30 PM 
NPR's Kitchen Sisters: Political History Kitchens
Register now!
A presentation, discussion, and Q&A exploring the politics in American food history with NPR's Kitchen Sisters, the independent radio producers known for their series Hidden Kitchens, The Hidden World of Girls, and many more. Free registration required.

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM: 
Food on Film
Register now!
Take a tour through the history of food in archival films and TV advertising with museum archivist, Wendy Shay, and reflect on what influences the portrayal and depiction of food on the screen. Free registration required.

3:30 PM - 4:30 PM: 
Julia Child in the 1970s with Alex Prud'homme
Register now!
A moderated discussion about Julia Child’s expanding interests and projects in the 1970s with Alex Prud’homme, Julia’s grand-nephew and author of The French Chef in America. Free registration required. 

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SECOND FLOOR

Woman talking and displaying objects at a table
RESEARCH ROTARY

Flag Hall, 2 Center

What’s it like to work at the museum? Curators and researchers at the museum present some of their recent work, a favorite project, or interesting stories from the collections that relate to food, politics, people, and power. Free to attend.

11:15 AM - 12:30 PM: 
Defiant Braceros with Mireya Loza
After her presentation Mireya Loza will be signing copies of her new book, Defiant Braceros.

1:00 PM - 2:15 PM
Barbecue, Beer, and Ballots with Jon Grinspan
After his presentation Jon Grinspan will be signing copies of his book, The Virgin Vote.

2:45 PM - 4:00 PM
Food Technology with Peter Liebhold

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A selection of canned juice
CORNELL FOOD AND BRAND LAB

Flag Hall, 2 Center

The Cornell Food and Brand Lab shares a glimpse at the hidden factors that impact your food choices and experiences. Participate in experiments that show the true drivers of our food behaviors and learn how to overcome some of the food traps in our everyday environment.

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM: 
Food Psychology - Session 1

1:30 PM - 4:30 PM: 
Food Psychology - Session 2

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Black and white photo of a woman in corn
HARVEST FOR THE TABLE

Flag Hall, 2 Center

How have food and farming changed over centuries? Learn how wheat was grown, threshed, and ground to flour as technology changed and then try your hand at milling wheat into flour. Free to attend.

12:30 PM - 2:00 PM: 
Wheat to Flour - Session 1

3:00 PM - 4:30 PM: 
Wheat to Flour - Session 2

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THIRD FLOOR

Woman shows a group of people objects on a table
OBJECTS ON DISPLAY

3 West

Curators display rarely seen collections objects and pieces that tell stories about the history of food, politics, community, and people in America. Free to attend.

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OUTSIDE

Kids and an adult playing at a station in Spark Lab
SMITHSONIAN GARDENS ACTIVITIES

Victory Garden, Outside (east)

Step outside to the museum's Victory Garden for some hands-on activities and garden history. Free to attend.

11:00 AM - 2:00 PM: 
Victory Garden Tours
Tour the museum’s WWII-era Victory Garden and learn more about the history and impact of these gardens in American culture and food traditions while also learning about the different plants and crops currently in season in the garden.

11:00 AM - 2:00 PM: 
Flower Pounding
Flower pounding is a traditional technique for transferring lead and flower patterns, colors, and shapes to cloth. The natural plant pigments – carotenoids, anthocyanins, and betalains – pounded into fabric can make a lovely piece of art. Learn the proper technique and then make a “flower patch” to take home.

11:00 AM - 2:00 PM: 
Seed Saving
Looking for a way to save money and still have a bountiful garden? Collecting seeds from your favorite plants is the perfect answer. We’ll show you how. After you have learned what a seed is, make a colorful seed packet and fill it with heirloom seeds to grow in your garden.

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Serving up a flight of beer history in America with a little help from our friends.

Saturday, October 29 • 6:30 - 9 p.m.

It’s a fact: beer history is American history, and tonight we’re serving up a flight of brewing history with the help of historians, experts, and breweries.

Join us for four tasty tales of brewing, beer, and policy from the Colonial era, 19th century, Prohibition, and the 1970s. Then dive deeper into the tastes, stories, politics, and history of each era by talking with experts, viewing museum collections and archival materials, and tasting some historically inspired brews at each station:

THE COLONIAL TAVERN
THE 19TH CENTURY POLITICAL PUB
THE POLITICAL WOMEN OF PROHIBITION
THE 1970s BREWING LAWS

The exhibitions American Enterprise and Object Project will be open and we’ll be holding a scavenger hunt with prizes for the first three teams to hunt down all the correct answers. This event is part of the museum’s new American Brewing History Initiative and American History (After Hours).

Tickets include beer tastings and food pairings. Participating breweries and speakers will be available soon.

 

Smithsonian Food History Festival and After Hours are made possible through generous support from:

Brewers Association

Cabot

John Deere

The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts

Wegmans

If you would like to support the 2016 Food History Weekend or for more information on how to get involved, please contact Kari Fantasia, Deputy Director for External Affairs, at 202-633-3302 or FantasiaKa@si.edu.