Golden Library to host Smithsonian exhibit in 2008

By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Reporter

Key Ingredients: America By Food, a traveling Smithsonian exhibit will arrive in Portales in late February for a six-week stay.

The exhibit will be hosted by the Eastern New Mexico University Golden Library, Roosevelt County Cooperative Extension Service and the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce. The exhibit is also being sponsored by the New Mexico Humanities Council, said Poppy Johnson-Renvall, media services librarian at ENMU. The exhibit will be set up in the Golden Library for the duration of its stay in Portales.

“I think this is an opportunity of a lifetime to have an exhibit like this in Portales,” Johnson-Renvall said.

Johnson-Renvall and Merlene Olmsted, professor of family and consumer sciences at ENMU, are working together in an effort to plan various activities that will be held in conjunction with the Smithsonian exhibit. The duo and a committee of local members have been planning for the upcoming event since last fall, they said.

“It’s an opportunity, it’s an education, what could be better,” Olmsted said of the exhibit.

Portales will be the last stop on a six-stop tour through New Mexico. The exhibit has already been displayed in Acoma and is currently in Questa. Other stops include Bernallio, Chama and Artesia. Johnson-Renvall has already traveled to Acoma to see the exhibit and experience firsthand how the exhibit is set up and displayed, she said.

“It’s going to look like a maze with artifacts from the Smithsonian and from our area,” Johnson-Renvall said.

Organizers are planning to have local vendors, especially those that specialize in foods and food products,and businesses set up in the lobby of the Golden Library, said Johnson-Renvall.

“We want this to help everybody know about the great food resources from our community,” Johnson-Renvall said.

Other events planned include a Century of Aprons, Iron Chef Competition, food samples, a cookbook display and recipe exchange. A market place, similar to the Peanut Valley Festival will be set up in the Campus Union Building at some point during the exhibit’s stay, Johnson-Renvall said.

Anyone who is interested in helping with the festivities is encouraged to contact Johnson-Renvall. With such a diverse community, plans are to provide several different activities in an effort to draw the community together and share different cultures, especially those related to food, she said.

“We want people to come and be involved,” Johnson-Renvall said.