Thursday, March 03, 2005

New Smithsonian traveling exhibit to stop at MUW

Mississippi University for Women will be the final stop in the state for "Key Ingredients America by Food," a new Smithsonian traveling exhibit. The exhibit opened Feb. 19 and will be on view through Saturday, March 19 at MUW's Fine Arts Gallery located in Shattuck Hall.

Curated by Charles Camp, the display explores the connections between Americans and the foods they produce, prepare, preserve and present at the table -- a provocative and thoughtful look at the historical, regional and social traditions that merge in everyday meals and celebrations.

Through a selection of artifacts, photographs and illustrations, "Key Ingredients" examines how culture, ethnicity, class, landscape and tradition influence the foods and flavors enjoyed across the nation.

The exhibition also looks at the evolution of the American kitchen and how food industries have responded to the technological innovations that have enabled Americans to choose an ever-wider variety of frozen, prepared and fresh foods.

Chef Sarah Labensky, Culinary Arts Institute director, said, "MUW was selected by the Mississippi Humanities Council as one of this state's sites for the exhibition based on several criteria, including the presence of the MUW Culinary Arts Institute and the excellent exhibition space in the Fine Arts Gallery.

"Having a traveling exhibition from the world renowned Smithsonian Institution is quite a coup for the university and the community. 'Key Ingredients' will be visiting sites in several states this year and we are honored to have been selected as a participant."

An interactive website,, has been developed in conjunction with the exhibition. The site invites people across the country to share their family recipes and food stories, learn about other food traditions and identify favorite small town eateries.

The exhibition is part of the Museum on Main Street, which serves museums, libraries, and historical societies in rural America. The SITES-Federation of State Humanities Councils partnership, established in 1991, was formed as a creative response to the challenge faced by rural museums to enhance their own cultural legacies.

Other sponsors include the Mississippi Humanities Council, Southern Foodways Alliance and Smithsonian Institution.

Utah has provided some books to enjoy with the exhibit and a photo gallery.


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