Heritage Spam

We’ve talked about spam before but this time it’s Spam, the real thing, if you can say that about Spam. The Spam Museum is in an adaptively reused K-Mart, appropriately enough. It’s in Austin, Minnesota, “otherwise known as Spam Town, USA” (but not to us).

The museum also houses the offices of the Hormel Food Corp, the makers of Spam.

We found it on Big Box Reuse, a website about the reuse of that urban blight, the big box building, by Julia Christensen, a new media artist.

Since the spring of 2004, she has traveled over 75,000 miles around the country in her car, visiting the sites and meeting the people who are transforming empty Wal-Mart buildings, K-Mart buildings, Target buildings and more into useful structures for their community. She has been collecting a growing collection of photographs, interviews, stories, and documents relating to the renovations, and has been giving presentations in communities about how towns are dealing with this common situation.

The coming energy decline economy and the growth of web based marketing probably spell the death of the accursed big box, but as candidates for adaptive reuse they could become interesting but difficult community assets. Julia Christensen’s project is more than an interesting social document, it’s a pointer to the future.

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