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Museum Food

By Max Lent

Discovering museum food was unintentional.  The discovery was the result of being married to an art historian for more than 30 years.  During that time we visited nearly every major museum in the world--a  couple of times.  Although I enjoy art and make it a point to fully explore museums I visit, my attention span is much shorter than my wife, Tina.  It took dozens of museum visits over several years in several countries for me to learn how to adapt to being stranded in a museum for hours at a time.  Sitting on the uncomfortable benches found in museums is only good for about a quarter hour before back muscles crave a backrest.  During my bench sitting days, I tried to occupy myself by watching people.  How much time one can watch people varies from person to person.  My tolerance is now about half an hour.  It's about the same for museum guards who watch the people watchers.  After a while they notice my looking at every attractive women passing through the gallery and assume that, just perhaps, I am not seriously interested in the art.  Walking from gallery to gallery like a retiree doing laps at malls also attracts the attention of guards after several laps.  The museum shops are fun and can burn some time, but not enough time to compensate for having a scholar as a spouse.

Over time, I found myself hanging out in museum cafeterias, cafes, and restaurants to pass the time.  Art types are allowed to take hours to consume a beverage if they are deep in thought reading or writing.  At last, I found a place to wile away the hours.  The next question was what would I do while I sat at the table.  I tried bringing books and magazines, but even they became boring after a while.  It wasn't until I was able to bring along a personal digital assistant (PDA) and a keyboard that I finally found the answer I was looking for.  Museum cafes are great places to write.  At first, I used the time to keep my travel journal up to date.  Then it occurred to me that I was sitting in a great topic, the museum cafes.

Museum food varies greatly from museum to museum.  The quality can range from completely pre-packaged mystery meat sandwiches to some of the most elegant gourmet food.  The ambience can vary from basement employee break room decor to grandly elegant. 

Articles

"Serve Up Heaps of Revenue" Published on the member Web site of Museum Store Association.  April, 2002.  This article covers the following topics:

  • What museums can do to generate more revenue through their food services
  • The expectations of museum food service customers
  • How museum food services add value to the museum experience
  • How museum food service can become integrated with exhibits
  • And much more

Reviews

Canada

  • Ontario
    • Toronto
      • Art Gallery of Ontario
  • USA

    Maryland

    New York

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