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Allison and Terri

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Spam Museum

The SPAM Museum—Please Don’t Eat the Exhibits

SPAM (and not the email kind) has been with us for 80 years.  To some it’s a delicacy, to others it’s a culinary disgrace, but you have to admit, it’s a cultural icon.  You either love it or you hate it—there doesn’t seem to be a middle ground with SPAM.  But you don’t have to even like SPAM to get a kick out of the SPAM Museum located in Austin, MN, SPAM’s birthplace and the global headquarters of Hormel Foods.  To help celebrate Hormel’s 125 years, the company recently redesigned and reopened the museum.

SPAM was first introduced in 1937 and gained popularity worldwide after its use during World War II.  Some G.I.s dubbed it “the meat that failed the physical,” while former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher called the product a “wartime delicacy.”  According to its label, the pink, gelatinous luncheon meat is made of 6 very simple ingredients—pork, salt, water, potato starch, sugar, and sodium nitrite.

 

Musical instruments made from Spam cans. An exhibit in the Spam Museum in Austin, MN

Bluegrass musical instruments made from SPAM cans

 

The SPAM Museum is dedicated to all things SPAM.  Upon entering the museum’s lobby, visitors encounter the SPAM wall, made of nearly 4,000 old cans, before moving on to dozens of advertising exhibits, video displays, and even a Monty Python exhibit, dedicated to the famous SPAM skit.  The exhibits and galleries look at SPAM’s popularity around the globe, SPAM’s history with the US military, and SPAM today.   There is an exhibit that features a set of bluegrass instruments made of SPAM cans, another a 12-foot SPAM rocket;  a SPAM can conveyor is suspended from the ceiling and there is a SPAM children’s play area.

According to Hormel Foods, Hawaii consumes more SPAM than any other state, estimated at seven million cans per year.

Staffed by knowledgeable “SPAMbassadors,” the museum includes vintage advertisements, memorabilia, interactive exhibits and a gift shop where you can pick up a souvenir for the precooked-canned-meat lover in your life.  You can explore the museum on your own, or with the help of a SPAMbassador who will share additional facts and information about the exhibits, answer any and all questions that may come up, and also occasionally hand out small bits of SPAM product on a toothpick or pretzel stick, commonly known as SPAMples.  The museum staff even hands out maps of the area that show local attractions and points of interest, and specifically lists the restaurants in town that serve items containing the famous product.

 

An exhibit focused on SPAM's role in the military in the newly-opened Spam Museum in Austin, Minnesota. Courtesy of Hormel Foods

An exhibit focused on SPAM’s role in the military

 

Kids Can Play zone at the Spam Museum in Austin, MN

There is a special play area for kids

 

The Spam Museum gift shop in Austin, MN

The museum has a cute little gift shop with all things SPAM related

[ctt template=”3″ link=”c3bJ5″ via=”yes” ]The SPAM Museum is a slice of Americana. http://ctt.ec/c3bJ5+ @familyvacayus[/ctt]

The museum is located in downtown Austin (only about an hour and a half drive from Minneapolis.)  It is a must see in Minnesota.

Another fun museum dedicated to food is the Idaho Potato Museum in Blackfoot, ID.

This fun, quick little recipe is one of my souvenirs from my visit.

SPAM® and Scrambled Eggs

Ingredients

  • 1 12-ounce can SPAM Classic, cut into cubes
  • 2 fresh chives, chopped, if desired
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk

Directions

  • In bowl, whisk together eggs and milk.
  • In greased skillet, cook egg mixture over medium-high heat, pulling with spatula to allow liquid to contact skillet surface, until desired doneness.
  • Add SPAM Classic to skillet. Reduce heat; gently stir mixture until SPAM Classic is heated thoroughly. Garnish with chives.

 

Traveling and sewing are my two passions. I like to combine them when I can. Come visit me at Sew Travel Inspired. I share easy sewing projects for travel related items and quick gifts as well as info on some of my favorite travel destinations. I also sprinkle in my favorite sewing and travel tips, tricks, and hacks.

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