The Museum
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Past, Present and Future
The NY Food Museum began activities in the fall of 1998, when the Wolfe Institute hosted a panel on "The Food Voice and the NY Food Museum" at Brooklyn College. Our efforts are largely volunteer driven, collaborating with organizations and recruiting interns help us with the "heavy lifting." We're into our second decade of exhibitions on the history of New York City's food supply, and we invite you to come along. 
Where are we?
The NY Food Museum has no permanent home. For now, we like it that way; it allows us more flexibility, frees up resources and an gives us an opportunity to establish cooperative relationships with existing institutions. You will see many of our exhibitions in digital form on this website - and we will be using more media to supplement our outreach. In years to come, you will see exhibits in mass transit spaces, on billboards, in schools, and in other arts, human service and food organization galleries and headquarters. 
How you can help:


The NY Food Museum stopped publishing a regular newsletter in Summer, 2009, and so canceled our membership offer - with costs going up and the explosion of food newsletters, we are spending our energy on programs. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter, and, for the less digitally inclined, we still mail announcements and exhibition-opening postcards. For Charter and Lifelong members, we will still be providing tickets, invitations and special packages, free of charge. For recent members, we will be sending a full set of newsletters since its inception and a discount to our next benefit party.

Do we still take donations? Of course! You can send a donation at any time, by check, to the Museum, and we will acknowledge (and thank you!) for your records. We greatly appreciate your generosity, and will make good use of funds (remember, no rent to pay...). You can earmark donations for special projects, but check with us first to determine when plans are definite. The NY Food Museum is a 501c3 organization, and contributions are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

Please note: if you have a special collection or iconic historical artifact to donate, we can help you find a suitable home for it. Our resources don't allow us to properly care for an archive, but we know folks who can help.

If you have special skills in research, fundraising or contacts in a compatible organization, feel free to contact us here at the museum.

Give us your feedback
We will be adding to this exhibit as weeks go on. If you have information about New York's food history around 1900, please let us know. Also, if you have an exhibit idea you think worthwhile, we would love to hear from you

Email, call or write
Our organization is run by volunteers; please leave daytime and evening phone numbers if you need a return phone call. You will get the fastest response by email.
The mission of the NY Food Museum is a simple, but important one:
To encourage people to think about the food they eat. Programs inspire people to remember and learn about the sources of their food, from home gardens to deep-sea fishing. We want our audience to reconnect with the people who plant, grow, harvest, raise, catch and find their foods; who cook, serve, and clean up their meals; who invent and purvey the products they buy. This connection will add to public understanding, appreciation, and remembrance of the importance of food and nutrition as an indispensable part of our society. Issues of labor, class, religion, race and gender, of food security and distribution, of ecology and land use, all come into play and each program consciously addresses many of these issues. Free exhibits and events pay tribute to the people that make New York’s food culture one of the most fascinating and influential in the world.
The NY Food Museum is a 501c3 organization, and donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

Board and Advisors
  Nancy Ralph, Director
Gail Johnson
Alexandra Leaf, Author
Lynn Loflin, Restaurateur, Farmer
Suzanne Randolph, Suzanne Randolph Fine Arts
Emily Rubin, Stage Manager, Writer
Suzanne Wasserman, Historian, Filmmaker, Director, Gotham Center
Special Advisors
  Barbara Tanis, Barbara Tanis Design – Graphic Design
Milburn Mehlhop – Web design and maintenance
Alissa Dicker – Writing and research
Peter Erskine – Tech support
Wendy Frank - Outreach

New York Council for the Humanities
Pickle Day: Whole Foods Market, Inc.; Brooklyn Kitchen, Two Boots;
NYU Community Fund; Neumann's Catering; Zum Schneider

Past Support
Whole Foods Market, Inc.
NYU Community Fund
Pickle Support
Lower East Side Business Improvement District
Whole Foods Market, Inc.
LoHo Realty
The Onion
NYU Community Fund
Other support
Our Dedicated Members! Large gifts and small, thanks to you for all you do!
Con Edison/Artisan Baking Center
Sanford C. Bernstein and Sons, Co.
Publishing Data Management, Inc.
Greenleaf Litho, Inc.

Past Activities
The NY Food Museum works collaboratively with public spaces and other cultural organizations to increase outreach, capitalize on synergies and present representative programming for the entire City. Our newsletter, The Menu: Serving Up Fresh Facts and Preserving History helps us explore and share new topics, many of which are the basis for the exhibitions we develop. In the next few years we will be investigating new media and other ways to engage our audience. Look for our upcoming wikis, videos, and participation at community events!
Exhibitions and Panels
Wolfe Institute Panel at Brooklyn College: “The Food Voice and the NY Food Museum”
Premier Exhibit How New York Ate 100 Years Ago — The story of turn-of-the-century New York’s food industry and home cooking, including the important contributions to our food culture by recent immigrants, restaurants, fishing and oyster industries and New York’s position as a world port and commodity trading center (now online)
“School Lunch and the Federal School Lunch Program” The exhibit opened at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal and highlighted the importance of school nutrition programs as powerful tools in the campaign against hunger and poverty, and as an important part of every child’s educational day.
First Annual New York City International Pickle Day now an annual event with tens of thousands of visitors. Pickle Day is celebration of a favorite food common to many cultures with the richness of variety the different traditions provide.
Panel — “The History of Noshing in New York” for City University of New York Gotham Center’s New York City History Festival highlighting the immigrant experience of food in New York from 1800-2000.
Began filming “What’s for Lunch? Kids, Food and Learning,” a documentary on New York City’s school meal programs and their struggles to meet their goals of good nutrition for 440,000 children daily. Projected release date: December 2004.
Second Annual Pickle Day, with more pickles to sample, more history to explore and music. Orchard Street between Houston and Stanton in Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
February 7-
March 22
Cooking for the Lower East Side, in collaboration with Henry Street Settlement/Abrons Arts Center. The exhibit explores the lives and work of cooks and food professionals in the Lower East Side, showing their identification with and commitment to their profession and the community.
Publication of Pickled, Preserving Tastes and Traditions, by Lucy Norris, (Stewart Tabor & Chang) This book was created with research done for the Museum’s first annual Pickle Day, and inspired by ways people find expression, nourishment, passion and a connection to their own history through food.
Howl! The Festival of East Village Arts – The Howl! festival was a fun and vibrant tribute to the bohemian spirit and tight community that has been the Lower East Side for decades. Museum solicited stories of bohemia by waitress/waiter/artist/actors.
Pickle Day III With an updated exhibit, more pickles, more vendors, more demonstrations. (Next year will feature an entirely new exhibit)
Pickle Day IV
Screening at Gotham Film Event: What’s for Lunch? - School Lunch documentary trailer
Pickle Day V
Developing Oyster Barge Rescue project
NY Food Museum Open House
Pickle Day VI
Schenectady Premier of 100 Years of Joyva – Our first traveling exhibition, and the first of our series The Candied Apple: Jewish Confectioners of New York. This celebrates the enduring Joyva Company, a fourth-generation family owned and operated halvah and candy company with its roots in pushcarts on the Lower East Side.
Installation of 100 Years of Joyva at the Mark Miller Gallery
Serving up the City’s Meals on Cart Wheels: Pushcarts and the City at the Vendy Awards. To be expanded in 2008, highlights of the ups and downs of in this important, misunderstood and iconic part of our food delivery system.
Pickle Day VII
100 Years of Joyva at Lower East Side Girls Club Café
Participation in Governor’s Island Family Festival with initial efforts on our seafood/maritime focus for 2009.