Many millennials are going back to their ancestors’ culinary roots of preserving and canning food. The old-fashioned trend has gained popularity in the last few years and doesn’t show a sign of slowing down.
The trend will make its debut at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, in downtown Indianapolis, on March 5 as part of the Indiana Historical Society’s Indiana Experience exhibition, You Are There 1948: Communities Can!.
Communities Can! invites guests to walk back in time to Oct. 1, 1948, to a canning center that existed on the grounds of the Ball Brothers Company in Muncie, Ind. Guests will walk through a photograph of the original Ball Brothers Muncie canning facility projected on a thin layer of mist and enter into a partial recreation of the center. Upon entry, guests will see women of the time period dressed in brightly-colored patterns and mismatched aprons. The women will prep produce they grew for their families while discussing the latest news and gossip of the day. Guests will also meet a Ball Brothers employee who will explain the canning process and invite them to join a canning class where they will learn and discuss significant issues for Hoosiers in a post-World War II society.

Angela Giacomelli, IHS exhibits researcher, traveled to Minnetrista’s museum facility in Muncie to study pictures and books on the Balls Brothers canning facility to make the exhibition as historically accurate as possible.
“We obviously cannot recreate the whole canning center,” Giacomelli said, “so we’ve focused on the preparation table area depicted in the photograph. The recipes and equipment are from the late 1940s. And all of the female characters in the space are based on real women who lived in the Muncie area in 1948 and could have been in the canning center.”
After meeting the women, guests can enter the supporting content room which focuses on topics such as a timeline of Ball Brothers Company history; World War II-era food preservation techniques and kitchens; seasonal food guides; and the reappearance in canning popularity.
Sarah Anderson, IHS exhibitions designer, and her team created every aspect of Communities Can!. Anderson said the details, the colors and even the science behind the exhibition are important. Anderson and her team of designers had to consider every small detail when putting together the exhibition – from matching the colors to figuring a way to keep the apples fresh every day. It took tremendous work, but Anderson is happy to see the final result.
“It is the coolest to see your ideas go from paper to reality – hanging up in a museum for people to go see,” Anderson said. “It is such a rush.

”To learn more about food preservation and canning, visit Communities Can!, open from March 5, 2016 through August 12, 2017. The IHS exhibition is presented by Ball Brothers Foundation,in partnership with Minnetrista

Written by Melissa Brummett on behalf of the Indiana Historical Society

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