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Rogers Historical Museum  

Traveling Loan Exhibits

A woman baking food in a paper bag, circa 1910.  Photo by Harry Ayer, courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society

What’s Cookin’? Two Centuries of American Foodways

A Traveling Exhibit from the Rogers Historical Museum

Our traveling exhibit “What’s Cookin’? Two Centuries of American Foodways,” produced in 2001, was supported in part by a grant from the Historical Resources and Museum Services section of Arkansas State Parks in the Department of Parks and Tourism.
A woman baking food in a paper bag, circa 1910. Photo by Harry Ayer, courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society.

As at least one author on foodways has noted, animals eat while humans dine. People express many aspects of their culture through the foods they eat, as well as how they prepare and serve those foods. The 12 exhibit panels of “What’s Cookin’?” explore such themes as: food in pre-industrial America; the impact of immigration on food history; the ways the availability of food has changed because of changes in technology; changes in food preparation in the home; the increase in dining out; and changing images of what constitutes healthy eating.
Exhibit photos and documents were gathered from institutions in states such as Arkansas, Minnesota, Tennessee, Nebraska, Maine, and Georgia. In addition to photos, each panel features at least one actual artifact or document. Items include a turn-of-the-20th-century ice cream mold, a fruit jar wrench patented in 1903, an early 20th century silver-plated oyster fork, a 1940s cornmeal bag, and several food advertisements.

Corn-eating champions at the Sweet Corn Festival in Ortonville, Minnesota, 1933. Courtesy of the Minnesota Historial Society.

The exhibit is accompanied by suggestions for supplementing “What’s Cookin’?” with local materials and by an activity packet with ideas for educational programs for all ages. You will also receive sample press releases, two publicity photographs, and exhibit posters and brochures.




Exhibition Specifications

12 wall-hung, 30 x 40 inch panels, with Plexiglas covers and metal frames and labels, photos, and artifacts in shadow boxes; hands-on activities; and slide show with audio tape
60 running feet
Moderate security Shipping requirements: common carrier; each exhibitor pays shipping to the next booking site
Weight: three crates, total weight 745 pounds
Six week booking periods (some double bookings available upon request)
25 posters for each six-week booking
200 brochures for each six-week booking
Participation fee for each booking period: $500

Suggestions for Funding "What's Cookin'?"

Short on funds? Contact your state humanities council about the possibility of grant support. Perhaps a local business, industry, or civic group will sponsor the exhibit.  Be sure to approach local food industries, grocery stores, restaurants, or fast-food establishments about sponsorship.

Cliff's Drive-In, Springdale, Arkansas, late 1950s. Courtesy of the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History, Springdale, Arkansas.

Contact for Availability

For further information or to arrange a booking, contact:

John Burroughs
Rogers Historical Museum
322 South Second Street
Rogers, AR 72756-4546
479/ 621-1154

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