Mac Salad and Two Scoops Rice

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Press Preview invitation for the exhibition, "From Bento to Mixed Plate: Americans of Japanese Ancestry in Multicultural Hawai’i," May 22, 1999, Accession 06-061: Office of Special Events and Protocol, Event Files, 1998-2001, Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Train engine, "Olomana" on loading dock at the National Museum of History and Technology (NMHT), now known as the National Museum of American History (NMAH), 1977, by Richard K. Hofmeister, Record Unit 371: Office of Public Affairs, The Torch, 1955-1960, 1965-1988, Smithsonian Institution Archives, neg. no. 77-7697-33.

Franklin Odo, Director, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program, 1997-2010, at the press preview for "From Bento to Mixed Plate: Americans of Japanese Ancestry in Multicultural Hawai'i" exhibition in the Arts and Industries Building, May 20, 1999, by Richard W. Strauss, Color negative, Accession 11-009: Smithsonian Photographic Services, Photographic Collection, 1971-2006, Smithsonian Institution Archives, neg. no. 99-1132-03.

Senator Daniel Inouye and Franklin Odo, Director, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program, 1997-2010, at the press preview for "From Bento to Mixed Plate: Americans of Japanese Ancestry in Multicultural Hawai'i" exhibition in the Arts and Industries Building, May 20, 1999, by Richard W. Strauss, Color negative, Accession 11-009: Smithsonian Photographic Services, Photographic Collection, 1971-2006, Smithsonian Institution Archives, neg. no. 99-1131-09A.

Senator Daniel Inouye at the press preview for "From Bento to Mixed Plate: Americans of Japanese Ancestry in Multicultural Hawai'i" exhibition in the Arts and Industries Building, May 20, 1999, by Richard W. Strauss, Color negative, Accession 11-009: Smithsonian Photographic Services, Photographic Collection, 1971-2006, Smithsonian Institution Archives, neg. no. 99-1131-06A.

Press preview for "From Bento to Mixed Plate: Americans of Japanese Ancestry in Multicultural Hawai'i" exhibition in the Arts and Industries Building, May 20, 1999, by Richard W. Strauss, Color negative, Accession 11-009: Smithsonian Photographic Services, Photographic Collection, 1971-2006, Smithsonian Institution Archives, neg. no. 99-1131-19A.

Press release for the exhibition, "From Bento to Mixed Plate: Americans of Japanese Ancestry in Multicultural Hawai’i," April 12, 1999, page 1 of 4, Accession 06-061: Office of Special Events and Protocol, Event Files, 1998-2001, Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Press release for the exhibition, "From Bento to Mixed Plate: Americans of Japanese Ancestry in Multicultural Hawai’i," April 12, 1999, page 2 of 4, Accession 06-061: Office of Special Events and Protocol, Event Files, 1998-2001, Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Press release for the exhibition, "From Bento to Mixed Plate: Americans of Japanese Ancestry in Multicultural Hawai’i," April 12, 1999, page 3 of 4, Accession 06-061: Office of Special Events and Protocol, Event Files, 1998-2001, Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Press release for the exhibition, "From Bento to Mixed Plate: Americans of Japanese Ancestry in Multicultural Hawai’i," April 12, 1999, page 4 of 4, Accession 06-061: Office of Special Events and Protocol, Event Files, 1998-2001, Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Being from Hawaii, I've had my fair share of mixed plate lunches. What is a mixed plate lunch you ask? A mixed plate lunch or just plate lunch is unique to Hawaii and finds it origins in Japense bento boxes. A plate lunch typically consists of two scoops of rice, macaroni salad and a main entree. As more immigrants came to Hawaii from other countries to work in the sugar and pineapple plantations, they brought with them their culinary cultures. As a result plate lunches started to include Filippino, Portuguese, Puerto Rican, Chinese, Korea, Okinawan, and Hawaiian foods.

On May 23, 1999 the exhibition, From Bentō to Mixed Plate: Americans of Japanese Ancestry in Multicultural Hawai’i, opened in the Arts and Industries Building. The traveling exhibition organized by the Japanese American National Museum featured artifacts, family photographs, and personal accounts that explored the role of Japanese-Americans in a wide range of areas and their adaptation to life in Hawaii. As part of the Smithsonian's exhibition, the National Museum of American History lent the Olomana, a 9-ton, six-wheel steam locomotive that was purchased in 1883 by the Waimanalo Sugar Co. to use on its 3-foot-gauge railroad located near the ocean on the northeast side of Oahu.

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and the Smithsonian has a number of events, programs, and resources that tell the stories of the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who came to the United States and influenced its history and culture.

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