Exhibition Starter Kit: FOOD

Questions? Contact:

Keith Simmons
Smithsonian Project Coordinator
[email protected]

Create a Smithsonian Exhibition for Your Town

Florida Humanities, in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution’s Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), is pleased to launch a new exhibition partnership program, Exhibition Starter Kit: FOOD. Up to ten Florida-based non-profit organizations will receive grant funding to utilize templated resources as well as virtual and in-person support from the Smithsonian Institution to create exhibitions that capture and share local narratives on Food.

Exhibition Starter Kits provide a Smithsonian-developed framework to guide selected venues through the development of local humanities-based exhibitions using their own collections and cultural content. While working on their exhibition project, funded venues will receive guidance from the Smithsonian on how to design and develop compelling exhibitions that highlight their local history and culture through the lens of food.

Funding Highlights and Key Dates

Phase One funding: Up to $5,000

Informational webinar: Watch Now!

Deadline to request an application Access Code: Stay tuned for 2025 deadlines

Application deadline: April 17, 2024, 12pm (EST)

Funding notification: Week of May 27, 2024

Contract period: June 1, 2024 – June 1, 2025

Funded sites that successfully complete Phase One will be invited to apply for up to $10,000 in Phase Two funding to support exhibition fabrication and installation as well as public programming to launch their exhibit in Spring 2026.

Eligibility and Venue Requirements

Florida non-profit organizations such as museums, historical societies, libraries, historic preservation groups, downtown development groups, and Main Street organizations are eligible to apply. Individuals, foreign, or for-profit organizations are ineligible for funding.

About the Starter Kit Program

Exhibition Starter Kit: FOOD is based on the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street (MoMS) exhibition “Key Ingredients: America by Food”. How does food help define your community? Most people do not give a second thought about the wealth of history and culture that shapes our dining habits and taste preferences. Our recipes, menus, ceremonies, and etiquette are directly shaped by our country’s rich immigrant experience, the history and innovations of food preparation technology, and the ever-changing availability of key ingredients. Our food traditions extend beyond our homes to encompass local restaurants, diners, and celebrations that help build a sense of community through food. Tell your local food story!

Looking for Inspiration?

In need of some flavorful inspiration? Click here to dive into our Spring 2023 issue of FORUM Magazine all about Florida cuisine.

The kit offers a multi-faceted template for local cultural professionals to learn about the exhibition development process. By incorporating local elements directly into the exhibition, each installation will be unique while broadly addressing the same national themes.

Selected organizations will receive a suite of resources for developing their own local exhibition, including:

  • Exhibition Planning Guide explaining basic exhibition planning concepts.
  • FOOD Project Handbook to help guide the process from conceptualization to creation.
  • Digital files for predesigned text panels, reproducible image panels, and Food Fun Fact “tidbit” panels.
  • Graphics package of design elements. 
  • Reusable script worksheets and design templates for local content.
  • Ongoing support from Florida Humanities and the Smithsonian including an in-person project directors meeting as well as virtual consultation with the Smithsonian throughout the grant period.
  • Access to a state-wide network of scholars and resources on food and foodways.

How to Apply

Read the Guidelines

Before requesting an Access Code, please review the Exhibition Starter Kit grant guidelines.

Download Guidelines

Request an Access Code

This application requires an Access Code in order to apply. After reviewing the Grant Guidelines and attending or viewing the recording of the informational webinar, interested applicants may request a virtual meeting to determine their eligibility. Requests must be emailed to: Keith Simmons, Smithsonian Project Coordinator.

All email requests for an Access Code must be received by 12 pm (EST) on March 29, 2024 in order to be considered eligible for consideration.

Request Access Code:
Keith Simmons
[email protected]

“Starter Kit: FOOD” is a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution’s Traveling Exhibition Service and State Humanities Councils nationwide. It is based on an exhibition by the National Museum of American History called “Key Ingredients: America by Food” Support for the Smithsonian Institution has been provided by the United States Congress.
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