Art Museum Dining: The History of Eating Out at the Art Gallery of Ontario

Irina Mihalache


Using archival materials from the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), this article recreates the culinary history of the art museum and advocates for the inclusion of food in the literature on art museum history and practice. The AGO, like many other North American art museums, has a rich culinary history, which started with dining events organized by volunteer women’s committees since the 1940s. These culinary programs generated a culinary culture grounded in gourmet ideologies, which became the grounds for the first official eating spaces in the museum in the mid-1970s. Awareness of the museum’s culinary history offers an opportunity to liberate the museum from prescriptive theoretical models which are not anchored in institutional realities; these hide aspects of gender and class which become visible through food narratives.

Art museum restaurants, culinary programming, women’s committees, multisensorial museums, Art Gallery of Ontario

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Copyright (c) 2018 Irina Mihalache

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Museum and Society

ISSN 1479-8360

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