Friday, January 6, 2012

Museum Food Services: Serving up our Missions and Eating our Words

What do visitors eat, when they come to your museum, and what messages do they take away from the experience?

We’ve devoted many posts on this blog, over the past year, to celebrating how museums can help their communities improve their health through an exploration of food and healthy eating. And We’ve spent many column inches documenting how museums are tackling issues of conservation and green design. How can we embody our mission and values in those parts of our operations devoted to actually feeding our visitors?

This is one of the themes we will explore in our free webcast “Feeding the Spirit: Museums, Food & Community” on February 17.

Thought leader Elizabeth Meltz, director of food safety and sustainability, Batali/Bastianich Hospitality Group will join us to explore how museums can integrate green design into the way they operate their food services. She’ll help us think about choosing what we serve, how we serve it and how to bring food service staff on board with these changes.

At many museums, this involves working closely with a food service contractor. In this video Chazz Alberti, national director for culinary development, Leisure Division, Sodexo, interviewed by AAM’s Susan Breitkopf, talks about the potential for making the dining room into the “fourth wall” of the museum and integrating it into museum design and mission delivery.



Chazz challenges us to consider: how can museums think about reducing the carbon intensity (carbon foodprint?) and water use of the food we choose to serve? How do we communicate to the visitor what choices we are making, and why? As Chazz points out, “wellness starts at the end of a fork, not at the top of a medicine cabinet,” and museums are in a good position to distribute “prescriptions for health” through their food services.

Register for the webcast now to ensure you receive the fabulous pre-webinar material! We encourage you to host a potluck at your museum and participate in the webinar as a group, using it as a jumping off point to explore how your museum can help improve food literacy, incorporate mission-related values into your food service and use food to reach new audiences.

This webcast incorporates content presented at the “Feeding the Spirit” symposium hosted at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, Penn. on October 13, 2011. Feeding the Spirit, the symposium and webcast, is the result of collaboration between AAM’s Center for the Future of Museums, the Association of Children’s Museums, the American Public Gardens Association, Phipps Conservatory and Public Garden and the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, with the generous support of presenting sponsor UPMC Health Plan and Sodexo. 

2 comments:

Tech Tours said...

In England many National Trust sites have integrated food grown in their gardens into the menus of their on-site restaurants. However, I caution museums to be cognizant of possible mixed messages. Check out the blog post & comments on the NCPH website from last year: http://ncphoffthewall.blogspot.com/2010/09/history-on-menu.html

AAM's Center for the Future of Museums said...

Thank you Tech Tours--that is an interesting blog post, and I tweeted a link to it from CFM.