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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Indulge your inner foodie with new Museum of Science exhibit

In early February, the Museum of Science brought the innovative exhibit “Our Global Kitchen: Food, Nature, and Culture” to Boston that was previously exhibited at the Museum of Natural History in New York.
This exhibit is a feast for all of the senses, and museum-goers are able to fully immerse themselves in learning about the historical and contemporary contexts of the food that ends up on our plate, as well as the way we interact with it.
Walking into the exhibit, we are faced with a sprawling mural depicting an Aztec marketplace, which is shockingly similar to many of our contemporary marketplaces today. In front of the mural is a visually stunning model of a spread of vegetables, ancient cooking devices, and information about the history behind all of them.
The exhibit combines murals, documentaries, art, statistics, and sound effects to tell us the long history of the evolution of food. It is divided into five main sections to illustrate all aspects of our relationship with food — those being growth, trade, cooking, eating, and celebrating.
So where does our food come from? This is explored in the “grow” section. Corn for example, which comprises the majority of the American diet, dates back thousands of years ago before it was domesticated. The exhibit shows how food evolves over time, showing how corn was domesticated from its ancient ancestral plant known as teosinte.
Museum-goers can then trace the history of various farming methods, as well as enter a simulated kitchen, to learn about the different tools and methods that various cultures use to prepare food. This exhibit uses all five senses to truly make learning about food an interactive experience.
The best part of “Our Global Kitchens” is without a doubt the “eat” section, which shows a diorama of meals eaten by seven iconic historical figures. Ever wondered what Jane Austen’s signature dessert was? Come to the exhibit to find out! (Hint: it’s not ice cream, which according to this exhibit, was a considered a luxury throughout most of history).
After feasting your eyes on the visually stunning artwork, patrons are then ushered into a room that features seven short films exploring the way food is experienced cross-culturally. The films show the importance food plays in cultural celebrations such as the “ofertas” in Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos, and the baking rituals that go along with China’s Autumn Moon Festival.
The overall takeaway of the food exhibit is that food is a universal thing that brings all of us together. And this exhibit has something for everyone to take away, from history buffs drooling over the recreation of Kublai Khan’s 13th century feasts to science nerds reading about the effects biotechnology has on the way we grow modern produce. Environmentalists can learn about the different sustainable farming methods used in the modern and ancient worlds, and people interested in global economics will be intrigued to learn about food as a commodity.
Food plays such a major role in all of our lives, and after leaving this exhibit, you’ll find yourselves thinking about what goes on your plate and how it got there. So, indulge your inner foodie and satiate your hunger for learning by visiting the exhibit while it’s still being featured! “Our Global Kitchen” runs through April.