Erie Eats

We are excited to announce that the Erie Canal Museum was one of 13 non-profit organizations and municipalities to be awarded an Erie Canalway IMPACT! Grant in 2021. The grant will help fund Erie Eats: The Erie Canal Foodways Project.

This project will showcase the diverse ways in which the Erie Canal radically impacted how people in New York State and beyond interacted with the most basic building blocks of human life, food and drink. Through a major exhibition, public programs, historic preservation, and innovative community partnerships, the Erie Canal Museum will highlight the many ways in which the histories of the Erie Canal and foodways have intersected over the last two centuries and will continue to interact in the future.

Upcoming Programs


Converging on the Canal: The 19th Century Through Food, April 22 at 12:00 PM

Few things are more universal than a need for food.  The 19th century in America brought massive growth of industry, movement of people, and avenues for social uplift. This had a direct impact on the evolution of food production, consumption, and dining practices across geographic and socio-economic lines. At the center of much of this change was the opening and expansion of the Erie Canal and the people who lived and worked on it.  Amanda Massie and Valerie Balint will discuss how the technology and ideas that moved along the Erie Canal shaped how Americans ate in the 19th century. They will discuss different communities associated with the canal highlighting the diverse people who played a role in supplying American tables. Click here to register.

We welcome people of all backgrounds and various accessibility needs. These digital presentations will be offered on Zoom with closed captions.

Save the Date for More Erie Eats Programming

More Details & More Programs Coming Soon!
May 1 at 10:00 AM – Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners, Gardening 101 for Vegetable Growing
May 15 at 10:00 AM – Erie Eats exhibit opens at the Erie Canal Museum
May 27 at 12:00 PM – Bob Searing, Curator of the Onondaga Historical Association, BrewErie Canal: A Short History of Syracuse Breweries
June 5 at 10:00 AM – Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners, Raised Bed Gardening
June 12 at 1:00 PM – Don Cazentre, Beer and Spirits in Upstate NY
June 17 at 12:00 PM – Derrick Pratt, Erie Eats Exhibit Curator Talk
July 8 at 12:00 PM – Derrick Pratt, The Genesee River Valley
August 12 at 12:00 PM – Dr. David Stradling, Making the Empire State
September 12 at 12:00 PM – Dr. Norman Dann, Bloomers, Ballots and Marmalade: The Life of Elizabeth Smith Miller

Past Programs

The Fertile Ground, Home to the Seneca Nation
Saturday, February 6 at 1:00 PM

Peter Jemison, Seneca artist, educator, advocate, and Historic Site Manager of Ganondagan State Historic Site, discussed the Seneca people and their ancestral homeland in Western New York, as well as the issue of food sovereignty. Jemison was the first guest in our new speaking series in partnership with the Skä·noñh-Great Law of Peace Center looking at the impacts of the Erie Canal on the Haudenosaunee and their foodways as part of our larger Erie Eats Foodways Project.


Hidden in Plain Sight: Exploring the Unrecognized Role of the Canal in Irrigating Western New York 
Wednesday, March 17 at 12:00 PM

Dr. Stephen Shaw of SUNY ESF will explore how farms and others currently use water from the canal as well as plans to expand irrigation to support the region’s agricultural economy and to provide some resiliency to the increased occurrence of drought. This talk is part of our regular Lunchtime Lecture series. Click here to watch the recording.



Additional Programs and Resources

Cookin’ on the Canal

Join Erie Canal Museum staff in recreating the historic recipes of Oliver Wendell Petrie, a cook on the Barge Canal in the late 1930s whose recipe book is now house in the Museum’s archives. In addition to recreating these recipes, staff shares interesting bits of Erie Canal and food history. Be sure to subscribe to the Erie Canal Museum YouTube channel to see new episodes when they’re released.


All Erie Eats programs are funded in part through the generous support of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.


This project is dependent upon the generous support from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation, the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and the NYS Canal Corporation, along with support provided by Market NY through I LOVE NY, New York State’s Division of Tourism, as a part of the State’s Regional Economic Development Council initiative. 

The Erie Canal Museum programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.