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Sunset, Potato Field.  Frances Wells ( 2010)

 Take a Good Look at the Potato

Seeing the beauty of a potato field in bloom for the first time surprises many people. Its flowers--clean white, blush pink, soft violet, even a deep blue. And its simple parallel lines, green alternating with color. Agricultural landscapes hold their own with any other.

The potato itself is unique among plants for its quiet influence on the world's history and culture. From its origins in the Andes mountains, the potato has traveled farther than any vegetable, around the globe and to the outskirts of the Moon. It has inserted deep roots in places where people think it has always been. That’s why many call it the “Irish potato,” or the Idaho spud.

Enjoy a quick walkabout of Spuds Unearthed! an exhibition at the US Botanic Garden, in Washington, DC that ran from May-October 2010. The Potato Museum collaborated with USBG on the project.

The spud has also made its mark on popular culture, as these clips make clear:



+++ "The potato is the world's greatest plant." W.F. Wright        +++ You could once buy a ticket to the movies with a potato. +++ "The potato alone will sustain life in full vigor." S. Copeland +++ An American soldier was once court-martialed for destroying government property by peeling potatoes too thickly. +++ "One never tires of the non-aggressive flavor of the potato." Andre Simon +++Potatoes made possible the first color photography. +++ "(The potato) has proved one of the greatest blessings bestowed on mankind by the creator." Noah Webster +++ "If a man really likes potatoes, he must be a decent sort of fellow." A.A. Milne +++ A patent exists for making artificial flowers out of potatoes. +++ "There is no species of human food that can be consumed in a greater variety of modes than the potato." Sir John Sinclair +++ Potatoes are fed to severely malnourished infants when they can absorb nothing else. +++"Spuds Unearthed" was a crowd-pleaser at the US Botanic Garden in Washington, DC from May into October, 2010.+++ The Potato Bowl is an annual football classic played in Bakersfield, California. +++ "Human nature will not flourish anymore than the potato, if it be planted and replanted, for too long a series of generations, in the same worn-out soil." Nathaniel Hawthorne +++ The Colorado potato beetle was once a bone of contention during the Cold War. +++ "Faith is reborn whenever anyone chooses to take a good look at a potato." J.S. Collis +++ Potatoes are used in oil well drilling, the making of penicillin and for hundreds of other industrial applications. +++ "We eat potatoes at every meal, beginning with breakfast. In the evening we always have potatoes with gravy." Anne Frank +++ A French encyclopedia once defined potato as a "weapon against famine." +++ The American-born Benjamin Thompson, (Count Rumford,) introduced potatoes to Bavaria.+++ Potato alcohol once powered small appliances, street lights and the V1 and V2 rockets in Germany. +++ "Happy is the man who has a good wife, but I tell you happy is a man who has a south-facing slope where he can grow his potatoes." Anonymous +++ Potatoes are helping to solve the world food shortage. +++ "The value of the potato in calamity and wartime has been proved repeatedly. Anonymous +++ Potatoes are a good source of vegetable protein, with a ratio of protein to carbohydrate higher than in most cereals and other roots and tuber crops. +++ Beethoven composed music for the words of a popular German song praising the potato. +++ Mashed potatoes are touted as effective cures for hangovers. +++ "Today in the world as a whole the most important vegetable is the potato." Victor Boswell +++ Before the Irish had the nourishing potato, they ate shamrocks and oats.+++ "Even the potato has a certain low form of cunning." Samuel Butler +++ Over 100 place names in the USA contain the word "potato." +++ A type of linen cloth was made by Austrians from the stems of potato plants. +++ "The merriest-eyed potatoes, nursed in gloom, Just resurrected from their cradle tomb." Will Carleton +++ The origin of the word "pothole" refers to the shallow space in the dirt floor of an Irish cottage where a pot of potatoes was placed for mashing. +++

Welcome to
The Potato Museum

Here you will find features, exhibits from our collections as well as interactive modules, teacher and student resources, blogs, and a shop. The Potato Museum, started (1975) in Brussels, Belgium, is the world's first museum about the potato and features the planet's largest collection about this valuable vegetable. The Potato Museum is not a product of the potato industry. We are a non-profit educational organization dedicated to exploring the potato's fascinating past, controversial present and promising future.

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Spud Tees!


Buy The Potato Museum's spud shirts at Zazzle

Speaking of Spuds

You could once buy a ticket to the movies with a potato.

Why The Potato?

whypotato-image200pxIn the space of just 400 years, the potato has become a staple crop of many people around the world whose antecedents had subsisted perfectly well upon grain crops for anything up to 4000 years. The reason for this somewhat surprising development is that the potato is the best all-around bundle of nutrition known to mankind.  John Reader, Man on Earth, 1998. Why The Potato Part 2