FOOD: Transforming the American Table

About the Exhibit

FOOD: Transforming the American Table occupies a 3,800 square-foot gallery on the first floor in the East Wing of the National Museum of American History. The exhibition explores some of the major changes in food production, distribution, and consumption in the United States after 1950.

Originally opened in November 2012, FOOD has served as the foundation for the museum’s Food History Team to create a robust research, collecting, and programming agenda around a wide range of food-related topics and themes. The team of curators, educators, historians, culinary specialists, and technical experts works in collaboration with the Smithsonian Kitchen Cabinet advisory board and diverse communities and organizations to produce its signature programs: Food History Weekend and Cooking Up History.

In 2019 the FOOD exhibition was refreshed with new stories and objects reflecting recent research and collecting around food and migration; health and nutrition; brewing history; and Mexican American winemaking families. Because the overall size and layout of the gallery did not change, some content from 2012 was replaced with new material. This website includes stories and objects from both versions of the exhibition, including one of the museum’s most visited and complex objects: the entire home kitchen used by Julia Child, America’s beloved cooking teacher and television chef, from 1961 to 2001.

Gallery photos