Julia Child Award Food History Project
The project supports food history research, collections and programming at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.
Since 1996, the National Museum of American History (Museum) has stimulated senses and minds through the Smithsonian Food History Project (Food History Project) using food as both a solid platform and a powerful lens to explore American history. As one of the Museum’s major research, collection, and program initiatives, food history connects our global audiences with the past, present, and each other.
Nearly 4 million annual visitors are invited to learn about the historical influences of food, culinary leaders, and cooking traditions through three pillars of the Food History Project:
I - Research conducted by Food History curatorial staff.
2 - Collections including:
FOOD: Transforming the American Table – The permanent and popular food exhibit explores America’s past, present, and future of food and drink and includes the installation of Julia Child's home kitchen from her former home in Cambridge, which was featured in many of her later television programs.
3 - Programming:
o Food History Weekend – Named Best Festival for Food Lovers, the Food History Weekend welcomes the public to lectures, cooking demonstrations, tastings, exhibits, and tours to celebrate the way Americans eat, drink, and cook. The cornerstone of the vibrant weekend is the Food History Gala, featuring the presentation of the prestigious Julia Child Award.
o The Julia Child Award recognizes the profound gifts of individuals or teams as food educators, communicators, innovators, mentors, and bridge-builders, and applauds their integrity, independence, and public-spirit. The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and Culinary Arts (The Julia Child Foundation) co-hosts the Food History Gala and underwrites the award, including $50,000 grants to food-related non-profits of the awardees’ choosing.
o Cooking Up History – Since 2015, Cooking Up History has brought people together with live cooking demonstrations. In a state-of-the-art demonstration kitchen in the Museum’s Innovation Wing, guest chefs share fresh insights into many cultures, traditions, recipes, ingredients, and culinary techniques that shape what is served on tables across the nation.
o Last Call – Last Call moderated discussions plus beer tastings attract visitors from various backgrounds, expanding audiences for the Museum and brewers.
o Winemakers Dinner – Co-hosted with the Napa Valley Vintners, this intimate fundraising event for the Food History Project gathers illustrious winemakers who share spectacular food, delectable wines, and infinite wisdom about industry traditions, struggles, and achievements.
o Videos, Podcasts, and Blogs – Reaching audiences beyond the Museum walls is made possible through videos, podcasts, and blogs which are posted on our website that averages 9.2 million visitors per year.