The National Museum of African American History and Culture To House Ebony Magazine’s Vintage 1970s Test Kitchen

The Smithsonian will shelter Ebony magazine’s groovy 1970’s-era test kitchen.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) will conserve Ebony magazine’s historic test kitchen built in 1972, according to Smithsonian Magazine. The kitchen was the place where recipes would be tested before being included in the magazine’s “Date With a Dish,” and “Your Favorite Recipe” food columns.

The test kitchen may be rebuilt with original appliances in the future, per a statement from the museum. The statement read, “While there are no immediate plans to display the test kitchen inside the museum, NMAAHC seeks to feature the iconic kitchen as part of an initiative highlighting foodways’ integral role in African American culture during the modern era through digitization. In the meantime, this piece of history will undergo conservation work and new plans developed for its reconstruction.” Instead, photographs and information about the historic test kitchen are available on NMAAHC’s Searchable Museum website.

Kevin Young, NMAAHC’s director, reflected on the importance of the kitchen. He said per Smithsonian Magazine, “The kitchen was a place where recipes were reimagined, flavors were explored and stories were shared — a place that celebrates Black history and culture in a way that was not only inspiring but delicious.”

Photographs of the space show swirls of purple, green, and orange. Joanne Hyppolite, the African Diaspora curator at NMAAHC called it “legendary for its interior design,” per Smithsonian Magazine. Ebony‘s food editor from 1985 to 2010, Charlotte Lyons, told The Chicago Sun-Times last week, “You could almost taste the colors, smell the colors; it made you happy.”

Ebony‘s test kitchen was designed by William Raiser and Arthur Elrod per, Landmarks Illinois. The kitchen was located on the tenth floor of Johnson Publishing Company’s building. The African-American-founded publishing company first opened its doors in 1971. The building was the first one on Michigan Avenue in Chicago designed by a Black architect, John Warren Moutoussamy.