Smithsonian Institution's Traveling Exhibit "Key Ingredients: America By Food"

(attached photo: One of the many displays at the Key Ingredients exhibit, which is open through August 4th.)


Smithsonian Institution's Traveling Exhibit "Key Ingredients: America By Food"
Opens with Ribbon Cutting and Reception at Washington County Rural Heritage Museum

(Washington County Rural Heritage Museum, Sharpsburg Pike, Boonsboro, MD) -- The first Maryland leg of a 6-community showcase of the Smithsonian's Traveling Key Ingredient Tour kicked off at the Washington County Rural Heritage Museum, at a special ceremony on Friday June 22nd.
After visitors were welcomed by the Rohrersville Band (one of the oldest bands in America, and the oldest community band in continuous existence in Maryland), the scores of invited guests came inside to be a part of opening comments and ribbon cutting for the Key Ingredients: America By Food Exhibit.
Speakers included County Commissioners President John Barr representing the Washington County Commissioners. "It is fitting that the Washington County Rural Heritage Museum is the very first stop in Maryland for this Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibit. Our county has the distinction of being a 'first' on the forefront of special educational projects for the entire state of Maryland."
Tom Riford, President and CEO of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau spoke about the value of such exhibits, and the attraction and interest of the Key Ingredients for Washington County. "This is an important occasion here in our county, and this premier opening of this Smithsonian Exhibit was only possible with the hard work of a lot of volunteers." He thanked all those that made the exhibit possible. "The CVB is extremely pleased to be involved in helping bring this exhibit to the Rural Heritage Museum."
There were several other opening comments by county and state dignitaries. Just before the opening ceremonial ribbon cutting to the exhibit entrance, exhibit co-chair Dorry Norris voiced agreement that the event was very exciting for the museum venue, "After all, everyone is keyed into food, and the history of American foods is extremely interesting to everyone." Other exhibit co-chairs included Sally Waltz and Barbara Henderson.
The Friends of Washington County Agricultural Education Center and Rural Heritage Museum Administrator, Leslie Henderson also felt that exhibits such as the Key Ingredients, "...allows us to view the history of what so many of take for granted, and offer a vision of where the nation is agriculturally, and where we used to be."
According to Frederica Adelman, Sites Director of the exhibits for the Smithsonian Institution, American cuisine can be summed up in two words: "regional and diverse." Adelman said, "Through a selection of artifacts, photographs, and illustrations, Key Ingredients examines the evolution of the American kitchen and how food industries have enabled Americans to choose an ever-wider variety of frozen, prepared, and fresh foods. Key Ingredients also looks beyond the home to restaurants, dinners, and celebrations that help build a sense of community through food. The Smithsonian is very pleased to open this exhibit in Maryland, at this fine Rural Heritage Museum."
Margaret Burke, Maryland Humanities Council Executive Director, spoke of how the exhibit can help raise the awareness of the importance of the history of our foods, and the exhibit helps highlight how food is part of our healthy socialization time as well.
Representatives from US Senator Mikulski's office, from the Maryland Office of Tourism, the Maryland Department of Economic Development, and the Maryland Historical Trust were in attendance. Mary Alexander, the director of the Museum Advancement Program of the Maryland Historical Trust, said, "This is a great opening event, and people have come from across the State of Maryland to be here in celebration of this exhibit's Maryland opening."
When Darce Easton, President of the Museum Board of Directors spoke she made it clear that exhibits sponsored by the Smithsonian Museum truly helps bring the interest needed to encourage visitors to join in and assists in making history come alive.
The catered buffet was sponsored by the Convention and Visitors Bureau, and was enjoyed by all those in attendance, since much of the food had a historical basis in their preparation. Maryland's harvest seasons were well resented, such as the beet and egg salad sandwiches, and fresh strawberries.
The Museum and Exhibits were opened to the visitors after Dorry Norris, Sally Waltz and Barbara Henderson all cut the ribbon.
The local showing of this Smithsonian Exhibit will give visitors the opportunity to explore the unique "regional" foodways that are Washington County's Heritage. Here you can visit a recreated country store setting, poke through a vast collection of nineteenth and early twentieth century farm equipment, explore women's roles through a unique display of aprons, or gather by the log cabin's open-hearth to watch cooks prepare recipes handed down from the area's early German settlers. All Key Ingredients events are free.
The Washington County Rural Heritage Museum is hosting the exhibit and a full menu of related public programs that focus on regional foodways. Look for hearth cooking demonstrations, presentations on Civil War rations, Hagerstown's famous City Market, and church suppers. The Master Gardeners will also be working with local children to plant heirloom vegetable gardens.
Some of the upcoming events at the Washington County Rural Heritage Museum are:
On June 27 there is a 7pm Lecture Series-First Foods From the Field & Forest and Stream-by Denny Warrenfeltz.
And on June 30 at 10am-4-pm hearth Cooking Demonstrations will take place at the heritage Homestead Cabin with Sally Waltz.
There are many additional events and for a full list of them go: ruralheritagemuseum.org.
(BOLD)Key Ingredients(END BOLD): America by Food, was made possible in Maryland by the Maryland Humanities Council. Key Ingredients is part of Museum on Main Street, and a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and the Federation of States Humanities Councils. The United States Congress, the John S. and James I. Knight Foundation, and the Hearst Foundation, with the local cooperation of Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau and Washington County Cooperative Extension.