A New Trend in Period Rooms: Food!

Some museums are taking a page from Ivan Day’s book and having more success in getting patrons to visit their period rooms. 

Supper with Shakespeare

Mr. Day, a former botanist turned food historian/curator, has had great success when working with museums to help them capitalize on the public’s growing interest in all facets of food.  In a recent New York Times interview, “Mr. Day emphasized that he has more in mind than presenting an exquisite table. ‘The thing that has been ignored by the art-history world is what these objects were used for, their function.’   My whole career within the museum sector has been based on trying to get precious objects out of the display cases and onto the table to show how they were used.’”

Mr. Day curated his first culinary-themed exhibition The Tempting Table in 1994 at the Bowes Museum in the town of Barnard Castle in northeast England.  Since then, he’s had a growing interest in breathing life into similar period rooms and has worked with museums such as the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. 

When Mr. Day isn’t curating, he is he also gives cooking classes in which the history is just as important as the ingredients.  If you live in northern England, or want to learn more, visit his Historic Food website here.