1980-83 Tom's potato passion (some call it an obsession) and his unique collection of artifacts earns him an invitation to tour the USA lecturing and presenting educational programs in schools and museums, and making media appearances. His appearance on Good Morning San Diego is so popular, the program invites him back the next day, something the station had never done before. As a guest on the Letterman show, Dave asks him why he didn't start a Brussels sprout museum. The Hugheses attend the American Potato Association annual meeting in Prince Edward Island, Canada.

1983 The Hughes family moves to Washington, DC. Tom begins teaching in McLean, Virginia.The collection continues to grow and is catalogued.

1984 Meredith writes The Great Potato Book for MacMillan Publishing, based on Tom's research.

1985 The Potato Museum collection is put on display in a small gallery space and opened by appointment.

1986 The Potato Museum incorporates as a non-profit. Two co-founders of The International Potato Center based in Lima, Peru serve on The Potato Museum's first board of directors. They are potato scientists Dr. Richard Sawyer, and Dr.John Niederhauser.

1987 Tom wins a Klingenstein Foundation award for excellence in teaching and studies potatoes in Peru with an Earthwatch expedition. Tom is invited to give a talk on the history and social influence of the potato at The International Potato Center in Lima.

1988 Meredith writes a paper which Tom delivers at the Asian Potato Conference Triennial in Kunming, China. The Hughes family tours China, Japan and Hawaii collecting for the museum.

1989 The Hugheses make a study/collecting trip to potato growing regions of the US Pacific Northwest...Idaho, Washington State, Oregon and California.