My Favorite Museum Is a POTATO

The world is getting colder and covid-restrictive again, so I am turning to warmer art/travel memories … I love museums. I’ve written about small museums here, big museums there, and all kinds of museums on Forbes. However, my absolute favorite museum in the world (so far) is located in a dim basement in Poland. Welcome to the Poznan Museum of Potato. Yep, a potato museum. My review will start after this official 69-seconds museum promo:

My Russian DNA is scientifically part-potato, so this felt like a cosmic homecoming. At the start, you pick a real potato, season it, wrap it in foil and off it goes into the oven as you head for your guided tour. At the end, you receive your freshly baked potato to-go. The Louvre ain’t got nothing on this!

What I loved about this experience is the holistic curatorial approach to storytelling. Potato is one of the most historically significant foods and its commonplace-ness today belies a fascinating cultural legacy. Despite being strongly associated with “my people”, it comes from Peru … and the museum traces its origins, global spread and impact in accessible interactive exhibits. Potato is more than food. It provides starch for the many domestic uses. It fosters science, economy, community. There was even potato art! I learned a lot even/especially if some of the info has been mythologized… For example. Since no one knew what to do with potatoes, it was seen as a devil fruit by the early Catholic church because it came from under the ground. The Polish people learned to bake potatoes only after a priest ordered to bury and burn the entire crop. The smell drew people back after the fires subsided… I don’t care if it’s factually accurate, it rings emotionally true! 🙂

Potato is King/Queen. At the museum I pledged my allegiance at its throne.

Call me when Met Gala picks potato as a theme, until then I’ll be dreaming of going back to Poznan….

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P.S. Just FYI… My own favorite vegetable does not have a museum yet and I haven’t stopped thinking about it ever since … Alexey Timbul, Director of Eggplant Museum (?!) Hmm, has a nice ring to it!

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