The History Colorado Center is pulling back the tablecloth this summer on a topic close to most everyone’s heart.
“You can’t talk about human history without talking about food,” said environmental educator Liz Cook.
The exhibit, the Denver museum’s first major traveling show, is a full-sensory experience, tracing food’s journey from seed to market, kitchen to table, from early man to even Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps.
And, yes, that means you get to eat in a museum, courtesy of daily food samplings from Whole Foods Market, the exhibit’s local presenting sponsor.
Not having food was not an option. “It’s like if you went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and didn’t hear music,” said Sharon Wilkinson, community relations team leader for Whole Foods Market in Cherry Creek. “Food is such a cultural experience and such a sensory experience.”
In the Taste Kitchen, the beating heart of the exhibit, Colorado brands and products will take center stage in a rotating schedule of themed samplings — crackers and spreads, pickles, spices, sauces, sweets, jams and jellies, juice and milk will all get their turn.
Budding chefs will also be able to use their noses at “smell boxes” throughout the exhibit to sniff out ingredients common to world cuisines, as well as explore the tables of historic figures such as Kublai Khan, Jane Austen and Mahatma Gandhi; and “make” African groundnut stew and other dishes at an interactive cooking table.
To celebrate the exhibit opening, the museum on May 31 is offering free admission to children 12 and under, cooking demonstrations and crafts.
Food-related special events are planned throughout the exhibit’s run, including garden tours, a local food marketplace and a June 3 lecture by Adrian Miller, winner of the James Beard Award this year for his book “Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time.”
When: May 31-Sept. 1 (Museum hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 12-5 p.m. Sunday)
Where: History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway
Cost: $5 with purchase of general museum admission ($12 adults, $10 students, seniors; $8 children ages 6-12); $2 off with receipt from any Whole Foods Market in Colorado