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The Smithsonian Food History Gala from Home


A special virtual event featuring the presentation of the Julia Child Award


for the sixth annual Smithsonian Food History Gala from Home
in support of the Smithsonian American Food History Project.

The virtual evening will feature the presentation of the Julia Child Award by
The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts


Danielle Nierenberg

Danielle Nierenberg



Danielle Nierenberg is being recognized for her work as a global thought leader on a mission to build a more equitable food system and as a champion for underrepresented voices in the industry. Through field visits to more than 70 countries worldwide and across hundreds of events and Food Tank’s journalism she has worked with tens of thousands of farmers, policymakers, academics, scientists, and government officials to highlight and amplify innovative on-the-ground solutions to food and agriculture issues.

Nierenberg is the co-founder of the global convener and research organization, Food Tank, a research and advocacy nonprofit, which brings together a diverse group of thinkers and doers to engage in dialogue and form solutions to problems, including food access and affordability, as well as challenge equity issues like racism, sexism, and classism. Food Tank Summits have hosted hundreds of influential speakers before sold-out audiences across the U.S. and internationally. The Summits are regarded as some of the most important forums that bring together all sides of the food world for critical discussion.

Nierenberg plans to use a portion of the Award grant to create a year-long Food Tank food justice paid fellowship. This role will include helping Food Tank research and cover issues around equity and justice in the food system. Food Tank will also launch a multi-city series of Food Tank Food Talk Live events in partnership with the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts. The new series will debut in Washington, D.C. in October as part of the Smithsonian Food History Weekend and continue into 2021 in New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, and more.



Julia Child Award

Due to the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the Smithsonian’s 6th annual Gala and Food History Weekend will be presented in a largely virtual format in 2020. Although we will miss welcoming our many audiences and special guests to the National Museum of American History as we have for the past five years, 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.

This year, the award presentation will be available to the public via on-line registration, more specific details about registration will be announced soon. We believe Julia herself would appreciate a global audience coming together around the theme of food justice!

We also hope that you will further help support the 2020 Food History Weekend and Gala from Home by becoming a donor or sponsor of this wonderful event. By becoming a donor, you will be supporting the important new initiatives of the Smithsonian Food History Project, 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. 

  • "The Food History Curatorial internship gave me the opportunity to learn about the many facets of museum work, build relationships with fellow interns and staff, collect oral histories, and contribute to museum programming, such as Cooking Up History and Food History Weekend. What I learned from during my time at NMAH continues to support my passion for telling stories through food!" -Marsha Ungchusri (2019 Intern)



Julia Child's kitchen at the American History Museum

Created by Julia Child, The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts is one of the leading grant-giving private foundations solely dedicated to supporting the field of gastronomy and the culinary arts. The Foundation established the Julia Child Award in 2015 to foster Julia’s legacy, while also honoring an individual (or team) who has made a profound and significant difference in the way America cooks, eats and drinks.

The award was created by the Foundation to continue to foster the impact and contributions Julia Child made during her lifetime. Jacques Pépin was presented with the first-ever Award at the inaugural Gala in 2015; Rick Bayless was the 2016 recipient of the Award; Danny Meyer was the 2017 recipient, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger were the 2018 recipients; and José Andrés earned the award last November. To date, Julia Child Award grants have contributed $300,000 to culinary non-profits and
non-profit projects.

The Foundation works to support the culinary industry year-round. As part of its commitment to helping the restaurant industry bounce back from COVID-19, in April the Foundation made an additional $50,000 grant in support of World Central Kitchen’s #ChefsforAmerica program, which is mobilizing restaurants to provide fresh, nutritious meals for communities in need. The program is spearheaded by past Award recipient José Andrés.

This follows a $50,000 grant to World Central Kitchen last year in recognition of José Andrés’ selection as the 2019 Julia Child Award recipient. The Foundation also granted $25,000 to SBACT’s Community Food Collaborative, a similar program, in Santa Barbara, California, the Foundation’s home town.

For more information on the Julia Child Award, please visit the website of the Julia Child Foundation.