On Thursday, December 8, the museum will close at 3:30 p.m. due to a special event; Spark!Lab and Wonderplace will close at 3 p.m.

Profile profile for YoungAR

Ashley Rose Young, Ph.D.


Ph.D., History, Duke University, 2017
M.A., History, Duke University, 2013
B.A., History, Yale College, 2010

Research Specialties: 

I am a cultural and social historian of the United States. My research explores the intersection of race, ethnicity, and gender in American food culture and economy. My first book, "Nourishing Networks: The Public Culture of Food in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans and the Nation" (in progress), examines how daily practices of food production and distribution shaped the development of New Orleans’ public culture in the long nineteenth century.

For more information about my research and writing see: ashleyroseyoung.com.

Role in Museum: 

I joined the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in September of 2017 as the Historian of the American Food History Project. My position is unique because it combines research and curatorial practices with public-facing products including exhibitions and programming. 

I am the host and historian of “Cooking Up History,” the museum’s monthly cooking demonstration series, as well as the Smithsonian Food History Weekend cooking demonstrations. For these demos, I conduct fieldwork and archival research and also collaborate with scholars and culinary diplomats at organizations like the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Embassy of the Republic of Haiti, and the Mexican Cultural Institute. I have shared the stage with celebrated chefs including Carla Hall of The Chew and Top Chef, Martin Yan of Yan Can Cook, and Aarón Sánchez of Chopped. 

In addition to hosting “Cooking Up History,” I am part of the curatorial team for the exhibition FOOD: Transforming the American Table, which re-opened in October of 2019. 

More recently, I was a curator for the American Enterprise exhibition’s 2020 New Perspectives case, “The Only One in the Room,” which illuminates eight businesswomen and female entrepreneurs who broke through tremendous barriers in their industries to create, innovate and provide an opening for others to follow. 

I am also a member of the museum's curatorial team collecting stories around COVID-19 and its impact on national and global food systems. 

In support of the museum, I have engaged with various media outlets on multiple digital platforms including CNN and NPR, and have conducted outreach at academic conferences, in journals and on social media, and through invited talks.

  • Historian and one of the curators for the exhibition, FOOD: Transforming the American Table
  • Host and historian of “Cooking Up History
  • Historian for the "Power Through Food: Women Entrepreneurs Saving Communities" project.
  • One of the curators for the 2020 New Perspectives case, "The Only One in the Room," in the American Enterprise exhibition.

Past exhibitions:

  • To Market, To Market! Urban Street Food Culture Around the Globe, photography exhibition, Student Wall, Perkins Library, Durham, 2017
  • “Agencies Prefer Men!” The Women of Madison Avenue, exhibit, Mary Duke Biddle Room, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Durham, 2016
  • A Delicate Balance: Understanding the Four Humors, exhibit, Josiah Charles Trent History of Medicine Room, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Durham, 2016
  • Skim, Graduate Student Photography, exhibit, Student Wall, Perkins Library, Duke University, Durham, 2016
  • The Dryades Street Market, permanent exhibit, Southern Food and Beverage Museum, New Orleans, 2015
  • Taste Terroir Tapestries: Interactive Consumption Histories, exhibition, Jameson Gallery, Duke University; Southern Food and Beverage Museum, New Orleans, 2014
  • Lena Richard: Pioneer in Food TV, exhibit, Southern Food and Beverage Museum, New Orleans, 2012-2013
  • Arkansas State Cuisine, permanent exhibit, Southern Food and Beverage Museum, New Orleans, 2010