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published: March 2004
analytic scripts updated:  October 28, 2010

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0  License



Key Ingredients: How the Smithsonian Built an Interactive Web Site for 150 Small Museums
Chuck Barger, Interactive Knowledge, Inc., USA
Rozanna Sokolowski, SITES, USA

Session: User-Created Content

In 2003, a new traveling exhibition that explores the diverse and constantly evolving food of the United States began a five-year tour. Key Ingredients: America by Food was created by Museums on Main Street, a partnership of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and the Federation of State Humanities Councils. The project includes a unique educational Web site that features a timeline of American eating titled 500 Years of American Food. Visitors to this section of the site can explore the rich diversity of American food culture by a wide variety of interesting topics including regions of the country, time periods in American history, and food related themes.

But the most interesting feature of the Key Ingredients Web site is the fact that it is designed to continue to grow and expand exponentially throughout the five-year tour of the exhibition. The site has two major sections that contained little information when the site was launched in the spring of 2003, but which continue to be populated with new content. As the five identical copies of the exhibit travel to 150 small museums across the country, the Web site will continue to offer new content and a valuable resource for the museums, visitors to the museums and anyone interested in food who has Internet access.