FOOD Museum, Albuquerque, NM

Those who love food, not just eating it but celebrating it and learning about its history, will love a visit to the FOOD museum in Albuquerque. The mission of the museum is to connect people of all ages with food education, shares its educational collection, and preserve things that are associated with food heritage. The hope to educate school children, helping to reduce the problem of childhood obesity by teaching kids the difference between healthy and poor food choice. They also want to promote global food traditions and study food issues that affect people around the world. The museum began as The Potato Museum, but soon grew to include such a wide variety of foods they changed their name. The museum has a traveling program that visits schools, classrooms, and special events like festivals, and they lend materials to institutions and schools in the area. They also feature displays in area natural grocery stores in an effort to educate shoppers and spread the word about the museum. The museum has recently published the book Gastronomie! Food Museums and Heritage Sites of France and they include promotion of this book in some of their displays.

The traveling program the FOOD museum takes into schools includes education about where food and animals come from and how they are used for food, how food travels, how people grow their own food, and how food is prepared and used in celebrations throughout the world. Examples of these celebrations are often performed in classrooms, as well as senior living establishments, libraries, conventions and special events, in natural food stores, at restaurants, and at area festivals. The most popular traveling programs include "Chocolate, Chiles, Corn and More: Foods of the Americas,'' "Plante Potato,'' "Everybody Likes Rice,'' and "Lunchtime Around the World.''

The FOOD Museum has an extensive number of permanent exhibits that includes lessons about roots and tuber, algae and fungi, shrub and fine fruits, fruits and vegetables, seafood, meats, tree fruits, nuts, stem and bulb veggies, legumes, poultry, eggs, grains, cacti and palms, sweeteners, oils, beverages, herbs and spices, and leaf and flower vegetables. In addition to these permanent exhibits the museum features seasonal exhibits and special events including programs about the digestive system, ice cream, soup, the history of being overweight, and the history of significance of fasting. The programs try to incorporate science, math, history, geography, global awareness, and the arts.

The museum has an extensive website that can be used to prepare visitors for their FOOD Museum experience. Children will enjoy browsing the online activities and adults can gather background information and history concerning the exhibits they have the most interest in. The site features videos, cartoons, artwork, a blog, and information about other food museums in the United States and around the world. Through its interactive programs and focus on education for children, the FOOD Museum is making an effort to share an appreciation of food and food history. Not only do its lessons teach health awareness and nutrition, they demonstrate how food can be a fun and enjoyable experience.

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