SPAM Museum, Austin, MN – 09 JUL 2012

I couldn't drive back to Illinois with out stopping at the SPAM Museum... dedicated to that meat product in a can that people either love or hate. 
No other American food product has had such a profound influence on world pop culture. It is the brunt of jokes, urban legends, folklore, Monty Python and unwanted email. 
TW helps a Farmer with his pigs.
  
Walking through the front door, I turned around to find a wall of SPAM made from 3,500 cans.
SPAM board with world dishes
There is a cyber diner where you can access official SPAM websites; a 42 seat theatre showing a film of old SPAM commercials and sponsored events; then a provisions market:
Hormel Provisions Market 1892-1922
  

George Hormel talks to son, Jay
  


Some of the other successful Homel brands...I was surprised to see my favorite wok oil among them:
Tinky Winky wanted to join the Hormel Girls but they disbanded in 1953. You can watch a snippet of their 1947 Christmas Show in this MINNPost article about them:
http://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2007/11/spam-and-legs-hormel-girls-danced-sang-sold
SPAM was introduced in 1937 but spread across the world during WWII as 15 million cans were sent to troops every week.
Hawaii has the highest per capita consumption of SPAM in the United States at 7 million cans a year.
South Koreans consider SPAM to be an upscale food.
On March 22, 1994, Hormel Foods Corporation Celebrated the production of its' five billionths can of SPAM.
Above the production display...below an interactive assembly line where you can time how long it takes you to put together a can of SPAM.
Overhead, there is a conveyor belt containing over 800 cans of SPAM that takes 17 minutes to travel around part of the museum.
40's               /                  50's
Hormel hired George Burns and Gracie Allen to advertise SPAM on their radio show in the 1940s.
60's               /                 70's
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, as a young 18 year-old working in her family's grocery store, remembers SPAM as a "wartime delicacy."
80's              /                90's
Everywhere you turned there were SPAM recipes ranging from Far East Meatballs and Musubi to Fajitas and Meatloaf.
                      Today                /   TW visits a hologram soldier
GIs called SPAM “ham that failed the physical.”  It wasn't that they didn't like it...they just didn't like having it for every meal.
Nikita Khrushchev once said, “Without SPAM, we wouldn't have been able to feed our army.”
Today there are several varieties of SPAM.
Not shown is the SPAM Exam room, where teams can compete in a mock game show, complete with a hologram host, to see who knows the most about SPAM. Really tests your retention of all the facts contain in the museum exhibits.
All things SPAM
My favorite display was the recreation of the Green Midget Cafe with the famous Monty Phython skit playing on the television. You can watch it on this link:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOlLjBwBMUE
This was the final sketch of the 25th show of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, the ending credits continue the joke by adding  SPAM to everyone’s name.
As I was leaving town I spotted this Greek Revival house, former home of George A. Hormel, listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
A few miles down the road and I felt like I was back in California.