For the last few years, anytime I would drive north to Minneapolis to visit friends I would find myself chuckling at the SPAM Museum‘s billboards. “Visit the Guggenham” one read. “Find Salivation” another joked. But when I finally Googled the museum, I was bummed to learn that the Austin, Minnesota attraction was closed for renovations.
So a few weeks ago when numerous friends reached out to let me know the SPAM Museum had reopened (on a related note, I’m lucky to have friends who get me), I knew I needed to plan a trip, and on my way home from the Travel Bloggers Exchange (TBEX) seemed like the perfect time.
As someone who has never tasted SPAM, it might seem strange that I was so excited to visit this unique attraction. But when it comes to niche museums, there’s nothing I love more—I’m looking at you, National Mustard Museum! And when it comes to the newly reopened SPAM Museum, there’s a lot to love.
Upon entering visitors are greeted by towers of SPAM cans and smiling staff members ready to help make your experience a delicious one. With seven distinct galleries and an indoor play area for young visitors, there’s a lot to see and do in a small amount of space.
Start your visit by heading to the electronic recipe stations that offer helpful suggestions on how to incorporate SPAM into your breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Find something that strikes your fancy? Just email yourself the recipe for easy access later.
Fun fact: Almost 17 million cans of SPAM could fit into the new museum’s space, which opened in late April.
Next, head into the museum’s international center to learn about how SPAM is enjoyed in countries around the world. From the United Kingdom to Japan, discover how fans across the globe have used SPAM in their culinary creations. I particularly enjoyed the British “pub,” The Flying Pig, which not only included some Monty Python themed memorabilia but also featured an Angry Birds-esque digital interactive where visitors try to knock over a tower of SPAM using kitchen utensils.
From there march onward to learn about SPAM’s history in the U.S. Military. Complete with historical archives and personal accounts, it’s interesting to see the impact SPAM has had across many different people.
In my opinion, one of the best parts of the SPAM Museum is its many interactive areas where visitors can get hands-on with their love of SPAM. In one area you can even “can” your own SPAM. Start the timer and go through the motions of workers at Hormel Food’s Austin, Minnesota plant.
While you’re there, don’t miss the opportunity to snap a #SPAMSelfie and see how many SPAM cans tall you are. In case you’re curious, I’m just shy of 20.
If you’re able, I can’t recommend a visit to the SPAM Museum enough. In fact, you might want to plan on visiting sooner rather than later. In honor of the 125th anniversary of Hormel Foods, the producers of SPAM, the museum’s goal is to welcome 125,000 visitors in its first 12 months.
If you visit the SPAM Museum
SPAM-lover or not, this museum is a fun, family-friendly stop. With free admission and engaging interactives galore, the SPAM Museum is a wonderful way to spend an hour or two. If you happen to visit in July, you may even be lucky enough to experience the annual SPAM Jam!
Plus, they have a delightful gift shop where you can buy SPAM memorabilia of all types, including a variety of flavors of the infamous canned meat. In a moment of bravery, I opted for the black pepper variety. If you have a good recipe for it, let me know. I’ve yet to try it for myself.
SPAM Museum, 101 3rd Avenue NE, Austin, Minnesota