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The Past and Present of the Future of Food with Sharon Macdonald

It is now nearly 35 years since the Science Museum opened Food for Thought, a major gallery tackling the subject of food and food science.

The gallery was a notable one, not only for its challenging subject matter and ambitious scope, but because it arrived at a time of great upheaval for the museum world. All was chronicled in what has since gone on to become a foundational text of the museum studies field: Sharon Macdonald's Behind the Scenes at the Science Museum (2002).

This event will offer an opportunity to look back on these previous decades, and to reflect on changes in museums and exhibition practice, as well as on changes in the way we write about and study them. This roundtable will put Professor Macdonald in conversation with current and former curators to discuss the challenges and possibilities – past and present – of displaying food and the food industry in our museums of science and technology.


  • Sharon Macdonald, Director of the Centre for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage (CARMAH), Berlin
  • Heather Mayfield, former Deputy Director of the Science Museum
  • Rupert Cole, Curator of Scientific Instruments, Science Museum
  • Katie McNab, Assistant Curator, Science Museum


Emily Rees, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Science Museum

How to book

Tickets are limited—to secure a place email with ‘roundtable’ in the email subject line.

This event will also form part of a one-day workshop focusing on exhibiting food at the museum. Full details will be sent out in due course, but if you are interested in participating, please signal this in your email.