Press Release


Exhibition on American Foodways will open to the public January 8.

CHICAGO—Through a partnership with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., the Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) will bring “Key Ingredients: America by Food,” a portable 5-kiosk exhibition designed especially for small museums and historical societies, to Chillicothe, Illinois. A VIP reception will be held on January 7. The exhibition will open to the public on Sunday, January 8 at the Shore Acres Clubhouse (100 Park Blvd) and will remain on display until February 17, 2006. The day’s events will feature a talk at 1:00 PM by John Gray about his experience working on a local produce farm, followed by a second talk at 2:30 PM by Juanita Swanson on the history of aprons.

In conjunction with the “Key Ingredients” exhibition, and at the same location, Chillicothe Historical Society member artists and researchers have created a comprehensive timeline exhibit chronicling local/area food history. Events at the Clubhouse include presentations by noted storyteller Brian Fox Ellis on January 15,The Story of Corn”at 1:00 PM and “Harvesting the River” at 3:00 PM. Through song and narrative, Fox will bring to life Native American stories of the origin of food and the life of the people who harvested the river. On January 21 at 1:00 PM, Susan Ridgeway of the Culinary Historians of Chicago will give a fun educational talk on the “History of Jello.” The day’s events will feature a Jello crafting contest. Participants need to bring in homemade gelatinous concoctions by noon to be judged. Trophies and prizes will be awarded. All events are free and open to the public. For further details please call the Chillicothe Historical Society at 309.274.9076 or visit the Key Ingredients website at

Key Ingredients” looks at the rich regional food traditions found across the United States, focusing on the diversity of foods and customs associated with them. By displaying a broad selection of photographs, illustrations, and artifacts, the exhibit investigates the way differences in cultures, ethnicities, and classes have created unique American food traditions. The exhibit also examines the tremendous effecttechnological innovation has had on America’s food traditions.

Key Ingredients” is part of the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street (MOMs) program. MOMs serves small-to medium-sized communities by bringing Smithsonian-quality exhibitions to local museums, historical societies, libraries, and community centers that traditionally have limited access to traveling exhibitions due to space and cost limitations.

Chillicothe is the fifth stop on a six-town tour for “Key Ingredients” the exhibition will make its final stop in Illinois in Mascoutah in 2006.

For more information about “Key Ingredients,” or any other IHC program, please call (312) 422-5580 or visit

The Illinois Humanities Council is an educational organization dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities. Through its programs and grants, the IHC promotes greater understanding of, appreciation for, and involvement in the humanities by all Illinoisans, regardless of their economic resources, cultural background, or geographic location. Organized as a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1973, the IHC is now a private nonprofit (501 [c] 3) organization that is funded by contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations; by the Illinois General Assembly; and by the NEH.


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