“America’s Kitchens” exhibit in Concord, New Hampshire — retro road trip

On days when warmth is the most important need of the human heart,
the kitchen is the place you can find it;
it dries the wet socks, it cools the hot little brain.”
—E.B. White, 1956


Need a place to point the station wagon this summer vacation? You’ll be sure to torture the pre-teens at “America’s Kitchens,” a new traveling exhibition organized by Historic New England. It has just begun its national tour in Concord, New Hampshire, where it will run through January 17, 2010. Next stops will be Long Island and Cape Cod. 

Here’s what the website says about the exhibit:

Kitchens tell stories—about families and women’s roles; preparing food without running water, electricity, or refrigeration; new technologies; changes in gadgets and appliances; and shifts in values and everyday life. The exhibition features vignettes of historic kitchens in colonial New England and 19th-century Illinois, as well as a traditional adobe kitchen in the Southwest, and a 1950s bright blue, “show kitchen.” Through interactive experiences, visitors can learn what it was like to churn butter, share a kitchen memory, or jot down a recipe from one of the many cookbooks available.

Each item in the exhibition tells a story and excerpts from letters and diaries reveal both nostalgic memories as well as despair at the endless drudgery of kitchen work. Although kitchen chores have changed from the multi-tasking of colonial and early 19th-century households—cooking, laundering, making soap and candles, spinning, and minding children—to common activities taking place in kitchen today—paying bills, doing homework, entertaining, and microwaving popcorn—the kitchen remains the “heart of the home.”

Amen. See more information about the exhibit here.

  1. Matt Saunders says:

    I’m from Concord, and visit my folks there all the time. I’ll definitely hit this up next time I’m in town, and if pictures are allowed, I’ll post them somewhere and let you all know.

    1. pam kueber says:

      Hi Matt — welcome, and YES! take photos and report back on the exhibit, we all want to hear!

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