8 fun facts to know about the world’s first vegan museum
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Last month, the National Vegetarian Museum in Chicago changed its name to The Vegan Museum to better reflect the organization’s mission to promote vegan lifestyles for health, the environment and all animals. It represents the only institution of its kind, dedicated to documenting the deep and rich history of the vegetarian movement in the United States with traveling exhibitions and events presented in the Chicago metro area. Now, if you’re wondering what you might learn from walking around the museum’s rooms, here are 8 fun facts about the museum and things you should know about the history of vegans.
1. The Vegan Museum has the first edition of Vegetarian time
Paul Obis started selling his magazine Vegetarian time of his bike when he first founded it. After many years it has grown into a major publication providing the public with a source of information on the vegan and vegetarian scene. And the very first edition of the magazine is presented at the Vegan Museum, containing many articles written by Obis himself!
2. It is the only museum exclusively dedicated to plant history
While other museums may include vegetarianism or veganism as part of their exhibits, the Vegan Museum is the only one dedicated to preserving the subject’s history and educating visitors about the multitude of related benefits. to vegan life, to the protection of all animals. from exploitation to our own health, and that of the planet too.
3. The Vegan Museum was founded by a vegetarian restaurateur who thought she opened the very first vegetarian business in Chicago (she didn’t!)
Kay Stepkin opened the museum after realizing she hadn’t opened the first vegetarian restaurant in Chicago. After learning that Bread Shop was not the area’s first meatless business (it holds the title of the first modern vegetarian restaurant), she discovered that Chicago actually had a rich history of vegetarianism dating back to 1893. This l inspired to create the museum to educate more people about the vegan movement.
4. The name change coincided with Donald Watson’s birthday
The National Vegetarian Museum changed its name to The Vegan Museum on September 2, which would have been Donald Watson’s 110th birthday. Watson, founder of the Vegan Society, coined the term “veganism” and the museum decided it was a great time to honor his work and better reflect the mission of the organization.
5. The museum has created an interactive map to document the history of vegans in Illinois.
The interactive story map shows viewers Illinois’ history of vegetarianism and veganism, from an old advertisement for Chicago’s first vegetarian restaurants to vegetarianism appearing at the famous fair, the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. A Companion story card being compiled to chronicle the development of the plant movement across the whole of the United States
6. One of the first commercial alternatives to meat came from the Midwest.
Called “Protose” and known as “vegetable meat,” it was one of the first commercially available meat substitutes to appear in the United States and was developed in the Midwest by JH Kellogg. It contained mostly peanuts and wheat gluten, and the museum says the recipes are still available today!
7. Pythagoras was a vegetarian
Among the facts you will learn at the Vegan Museum is that Pythagoras, the Greek philosopher famous for the Pythagorean theorem and other mathematical and musical developments, was vegetarian. And we knew that anyone who wanted to study with him had to stick to his diet.
8. The Vegan Museum hosts many events around Chicagoland
As a traveling museum, the organization hosts various speaker events, documentary screenings, cooking demonstrations and more! They even organized a reading of a children’s book by international author Hélène Defossez. Speakers at the museum include author Victoria Moran, chef and educator Jill Keb and Robert Grillo, animal welfare activist and director of the nonprofit Free From Harm.
Main image provided by Markus Spiske / Unsplash.