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Smithsonian Surprise

Ann Arbor memorabilia in America's museum.

by Micheline Maynard

From the July, 2019 issue

A visitor to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History this spring was surprised to see a photo of a young couple standing in a corn patch in an Ann Arbor community garden.

The photo, dated 1972-73, was accompanied by a People's Food Co-op logo from 1999.

How did Warren and Amy Belasco end up a stone's throw from Julia Child's kitchen? And what made them so noteworthy?

Now a professor emeritus at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, Warren Belasco explains that they helped with the early planning of the Smithsonian's "Transforming the American Table" exhibit, which opened in 2012. It explores a variety of food developments from 1950 through 2000, including the emergence of food co-ops like the PFC.

When curator Rayna Green "put out a call for artifacts related to the various themes," Belasco recalls, he offered two: the photo, which was taken by a friend, Rich Miller, at a community garden near Stadium Blvd., and an old crock that the Belascos used to make yogurt. "That's how we got entombed in the Smithsonian," he says.

Every few years, the museum asks Belasco to renew the loans, which he didn't realize would last this long. "I may never get the crock back," he says.     (end of article)

[Originally published in July, 2019.]


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