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Food for Thought: Emergence of Food-Based Historical Museum Walking Tours

Thesis by Claire Aldenhuysen (2016)

The purpose of this thesis was to explain why museums developed food-based walking tours and engaged in the trend of culinary tourism. This topic is significant to museology because despite the popularity of culinary tourism, it has not been studied in a museum environment. Through an email survey, this study targeted three history museums in New York, Florida, and Washington State with food-based walking tours and investigated why the museums developed this programming. This study was informed by three primary research questions: why design these programs, what are the benefits to the museum, and what are the benefits to the visitor? The results of this study showed that food-based historical walking tours were both popular with visitors and financially successful programs for the participating museums. All three museums created their food-based historical walking tours from preexisting programs. Two of the three institutions surveyed collaborated with their local communities in order to develop a food-based historical walking tour. All of the institutions surveyed reported that these types of tours were successful endeavors that expanded the museum’s audience. The primary limitation of this study was the small sample size.


Keywords: research, programs, adults, food, history, culinary tourism, history tours, museum tours, tourism, walking tours, Class of 2016


Aldenhuysen, C. E. , O’Donnell, W., and Miller, M. (2016). Food for Thought: Emergence of Food-Based Historical Museum Walking Tours (Order No. 10138599). Available from Dissertations & Theses @ University of Washington WCLP; ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (1821307056).