MAZON Releases Groundbreaking New Virtual Resource, The Hunger Museum

March 9, 2023


Today, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger launched The Hunger Museum, an unprecedented digital exploration into the social and political history of hunger in America — how our nation almost ended hunger, and how we can work together to do it again.

Freely accessible to anyone with an internet connection, The Hunger Museum utilizes groundbreaking technology to deliver a powerfully heightened virtual experience in an ultra-modern museum space designed by architects and curated by historians. Nearly three years in the making, MAZON’s Hunger Museum is symbolically located in Washington, DC, in the shadow of the Washington Monument between the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Hunger is scary, stubborn, but — most importantly — solvable,” said U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern, a central leader of today’s anti-hunger movement. “The Hunger Museum will help visitors understand that through better public policy, local food sourcing, and systematic change, we can create a future where every family has access to nutritious meals. While this goal is ambitious, I have faith: we can and will end hunger in America, and The Hunger Museum is a step towards making it a reality.”

The Hunger Museum immerses visitors into the story of over 100 years of hunger and anti-hunger public policy in America. Through six galleries of historical content, and hundreds of artifacts, the museum’s exhibits illuminate the political, economic, and cultural influences of various eras, revealing the expansion and dismantlement of the American social safety net over the last century and how — with this history in mind — we can forge a path forward to end hunger.

The Hunger Museum “illuminates what the lives of Americans were like from the Gilded Age to today — over 100 years of our history. It’s a cultural space, a learning space, a visual experience of social justice that shows how Americans have fought to address food insecurity,” said Abby J. Leibman, MAZON’s President and CEO. “It demonstrates what this country can be when we are at our best, how the lessons of history can inform our future, and what that can mean for those who struggle with hunger in America.”

In addition to engaging with historical content, museum visitors can visit the SNAP Café and attempt to purchase a meal within the national average benefit for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), which is a modest $2.03 per person per meal. Museum-goers can also visit a towering Wishing Tree near the building’s multi-story sunlit lobby, where they can leave a wish to end hunger, as part of a feature modeled after Yoko Ono’s visionary peace project.

“The Hunger Museum gives us the ability to remember where we were, so we can better understand where we’re going. That journey reflects our Jewish values deeply embedded in The Hunger Museum’s foundation,” said MAZON’s Board Chair Rabbi Joel Pitkowsky. “The Hunger Museum holds the power to inspire people to envision how we can, together, rebuild the social safety net and end the shame of hunger in America once and for all.”