Did you know that there’s a SPAM Museum? A whole museum dedicated to lovely, glorious, wonderful Spam?
The SPAM Museum is based in Austin, Minnesota and is conveniently located just off of I-90. So, of course, we had to stop by for a visit.
A Brief History of Spam
Spam is a type of canned meat which is made of pork with ham and salt (among other things). Originally produced in 1937 by the Hormel Corporation, Spam was widely used during and after World War II.
In fact, Spam was so ubiquitous during this time that many people grew tired of eating it. The excessive use of Spam is the basis of a famous Month Python sketch – in which all the menu items contain Spam.
I also learned that spam (of the electronic variety) gets its name from this same Monty Python sketch. Email spam has become “ubiquitous, unavoidable and repetitive” – just like canned Spam was after World War II. (Source: Wikipedia)
Our Experience at the SPAM Museum
I’m very familiar with Spam as I ate an awful lot of it when I hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 2017. The single-serving pouches are great for backpacking. I also went through a phase where I was really into Spam musubi. Daniel even got me a musubi press one year so I could make my own musubi.
Given my long running history with this canned meat product, I was really looking forward to visiting the SPAM Museum. My only concern was visiting during a pandemic. I wasn’t sure how we could maintain a proper social distance while inside an enclosed space like a museum.
Well, I shouldn’t have worried. Of all the roadside attractions that we’ve visited recently, the SPAM Museum was by far the most conscientious about creating a safe environment for both staff and visitors.
Daniel and I had to follow a four-step process before even entering the facility. They took our temperatures, took down our contact details (for contact tracing), and made us wash our hands. They also gave us each a stylus for use when pushing buttons on the interactive displays.
And, of course, everyone had to wear a mask. This is now a state law in Minnesota, however. It’s nice to be back in a state where masks are required.
The SPAM Museum gets an A+ for their COVID-19 preparedness. It’s a fun museum to visit too. I learned all kinds of new things about my favorite mystery meat.
Jolly Green Giant
On our way to the SPAM Museum, Daniel and I drove through the small town of Blue Earth in Minnesota. It’s a fairly unremarkable town, except for one thing – it has an enormous statue of the Jolly Green Giant. That, and Blue Earth is a pretty cool name for a town.
Where are we now?
Date: August 9, 2020
Great American Road Trip Status: Day 35
Starting Location: Shrine of the Grotto of the Redemption – West Bend, IA
Ending Location: Minneapolis Southwest KOA – Jordan, MN
Miles Traveled: 213.8
Total Trip Mileage: 3796.8
For more details on our Great America (Socially Distanced) Road Trip, see my previous posts:
- Day 35, Part III: Shrine of the Grotto of the Redemption
- Day 34, Part II: Porter Sculpture Park: A Quirky Roadside Attraction along I-90
- Day 34, Part I: Keeping it Corny at the Corn Palace
- Day 33: A New Time Zone
- Day 32: Backpacking in the Badlands
I am Spencer Quinn’s wife and I follow your blog! I am from Minnesota originally, and when I worked at a PR firm in Minneapolis, we helped open the SPAM Museum with a huge event! The grand opening was supposed to be on or right after September 11, 2001, but we obviously moved it to another date. It’s a fascinating place! For more about Austin, MN, read about or see SPAMTown about the Hormel (pronounces Hormle) strike in the 80s…
Hi Annie! How nice to hear from you. And how cool that you were involved with launching the SPAM Museum! It’s really a neat space. I’ll check out SPAMTown!