What India’s First Food Museum Has To Offer
Image Credit: The Food Museum in Thanjavur is the first of its kind in the country.

Inaugurated in November last year, India’s first museum dedicated to food opened in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu. It was established by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to digitally exhibit the food grain production scenario in the country and around the world, and to highlight challenges to do with food storage. Apart from this, the Museum makes visitors aware of India's agriculture, cuisines, and food distribution networks. 

The Museum was built as a creative project by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) in collaboration with the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum (VITM) in Bengaluru. Thanjavur was chosen as the site for India's first Food Museum because it is the state's cultural capital and FCI’s first office was also established here on January 14, 1965. The Museum has been established to commemorate the FCI's role in maintaining food security in the country.

Touch screens, virtual reality sets, projector screens and other interactables make up the Museum. There are exhibitions on numerous themes and also the evolution and revolution of agricultural food practices in India. The themes include history of foragers (the growth of agricultural systems, beginning with nomadic hunter-gatherers that transformed into settled agricultural producers and farmers) and food storage (methods that have been invented and used both in India and around the world). 

A separate section discusses the origins and domestication of crops, emphasising that what we eat is part of a global system. The history of farming and how people store grains around the world can be traced with the help of a projection map, and there is another section focused on pests that can kill crops.

“Live models of foodgrains and farm produce of various countries and maps of States showing their most famous food items along with the recipes are among the attractions. Visitors can also take a quiz at the end to answer 20 questions on the information that they had gleaned at the museum,” a FCI official told The Hindu. 

The Museum is the first of its kind in the country. It is spread over an area of 1,860 square feet and opens from 11am to 5pm (entry is free). New York has the Museum of Food and Drink and London has The British Museum of Food, and it’s a big stride for India to have seen a similar initiative. Read more about food museums around the world.