Julia Child’s Kitchen at the Smithsonian

by jerseygirl on November 29, 2011 · 15 comments

A few weeks ago while on a visit to Washington, DC, I had the chance to visit Julia Child’s kitchen at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. This was my favorite exhibit of the trip and seeing this kitchen in person was amazing.

Julia Child’s husband, Paul, designed this working kitchen for her in 1961. She used this room to cook for her family, friends and co-workers. The kitchen was also a set for her three enormously popular TV shows.  The thing I loved most about this kitchen was that she utilized every space possible. It is not  very big, however she had everything a good chef would need in it. I am sure Julia could have chosen a bigger and more elaborate kitchen. She went with a kitchen that was practical and comforting. You could tell this was a place for family. Julia not only kept all her professional equipment in this room, but she also had small simple gadgets that every home cook has.Julia called her kitchen “the beating heart of the household”. That was a perfect summary of this famous room. This wall plaque said it all.I loved how there was a space for everything. Julia utilized this blue pegboard for over 45 pots and  kitchen gadgets. They were all outlined in black or red marker so that they could be placed back exactly where they belonged.

In 2001, Julia Child decided to donate her kitchen to the museum. Through this kitchen, you can see her life as a family cook, culinary professional and television star. If you are ever in Washington, DC, this is one exhibit, you don’t want to miss. Thank you Julia, for giving us so much in American food culture!

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Denise @ Creative Kitchen November 29, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Loved this!! How interesting…great pictures! I'll have to visit next time I'm in DC.

Denise @ Creative Kitchen

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The Japanese Redneck November 29, 2011 at 3:58 pm

I luv that peg wall. I think I need one of those.

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That Girl November 29, 2011 at 7:12 pm

Man, it's been years since I've been to the Smithsonian.

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Debbie November 29, 2011 at 7:27 pm

I just LOVE that pegboard….I could definitely use that!

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Patsyk November 29, 2011 at 9:11 pm

Definitely, one of my favorite exhibits there! I've seen it a couple of times and it just "feels" likes she's right there.

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Lisa @ Snappy Gourmet November 29, 2011 at 10:20 pm

I love DC! Sounds like a great trip!

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Lynne Laino November 29, 2011 at 11:06 pm

I can't tell you how wonderful your pictures and descriptions are. When we were in DC a few years ago, the Smithsonian was being renovated. I was so disappointed. Your writing is amazing!

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Zee November 30, 2011 at 12:43 am

Ive never been to DC but if ever I get a chance to come, I know exactly where I am going first!

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Shelby November 30, 2011 at 4:37 am

I love the pegboard….I had one in a previous home and it is so convenient. Hopefully when we buy our new home I can have a kitchen I love….and functional is perfect…that is all a person needs!

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Lana @ Never Enough Thyme November 30, 2011 at 12:33 pm

I would so love to see Julia's kitchen. I still watch her shows on Cooking Channel and enjoy them just as much now as I did 30 years ago.

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Anne-Marie @ This Mama Cooks! November 30, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Thank you for sharing this. If you read books about her, the kitchen she used in France to write her first cookbooks were even teenier and when she moved back to the States, it was hard for her to get decent knives. It's amazing what she was able to accomplish with so little!

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Kim Bee November 30, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Now following you. Not sure why I wasn't before. This is really amazing. We watched the footage of this on the movie Julie and Julia of this and what struck me was it's a cook's kitchen. It's not fancy or all sparkly. It's perfect for someone who spends tons of time in their kitchen and wants everything at the ready. Such a cool thing to do. So envious you got to see it in person.

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Jeanette November 30, 2011 at 9:39 pm

I would love to see Julia's kitchen one day. I used to watch her all the time on TV. Thanks for sharing all the photos from your visit.

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Simply Life December 1, 2011 at 9:54 pm

oh what a fun trip! I bet that was so fun to see in person!

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Lisa May 9, 2012 at 3:44 pm

So happy to see these pictures … we went to DC over Spring Break and this was top on my list. Sadly the exhibit was closed for renovation!! Argh. Guess I’ll have to go back.

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