Field trip: Colorado student travels to Austin to research SPAM

Published 6:00 pm Monday, February 19, 2024

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Some students have to go across town to do research for a school project. Other students travel over 700 miles from Colorado to visit Austin in order to complete a school project,

That’s exactly what Jack Adams, and his dad Brian, did this past weekend in order to get an extensive education on the history of SPAM as part of a sixth grade capstone project.

Jack and Brian spent four days — Friday through Monday — diving deep into the background of SPAM through visits to the SPAM Museum, Hormel Corporate and Hormel R&D, as well as visits to the Mower County Historical Society and Hormel Historic Home.

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“I thought SPAM was a cool topic, and I’ve enjoyed researching it for my background research,” Jack said Monday morning at the SPAM Museum.

Jack, a relative newcomer to the world of SPAM after trying it for the first time on a family trip to Hawaii in August of last year, is a student at Compass Montessori School in Arvada, Colorado, a suburb of Denver.

Students at the school are required to complete the project as part of completing sixth grade. An important part of choosing the project is picking something that the student is deeply interested in. After weeding out topics that were too broad or too narrow, Jack zeroed in on SPAM.

It fit Jack’s growing love for the canned meat.

“I realized I was going to be researching a topic for the next six months and I wanted to research something that I want to research,” Jack explained. “I’m interested in bulldozers, but do I really want to spend six months researching bulldozers?”

“I thought, ‘SPAM, whoa, that’s a fun topic,’” he added.

For Brian, it was a perfect opportunity to take part in Jack’s education.

“We thought it was fantastic,” he said, referring to he and wife Jennifer. “We were able to support his school work. One of his requirements is field research and so discovering there is a SPAM Museum in southern Minnesota was a perfect trip for a little travel over a four-day weekend and allow him to get immersed in his subject.”

The trip was initially meant to include the SPAM Museum, but after communicating with Jack and the family, SPAM Museum Director Savile Lord thought there was a larger opportunity to create an experience beyond what the family was hoping for.

After some back-and-forth with the family, Lord began to see the significance of the project when Jack began talking about the Industrial Revolution and the focus on the connection between SPAM and the United States military.

“All of a sudden my brain started turning,” she said. “We can make this quite a bit more.”

Meetings with Senior SPAM Brand Manager Jennesa Kinscher and International SPAM Manager Bruno Alves were arranged along with the talks with Research and Archives Manager Sue Doocy at the Historical Society and Hormel Historic Home Executive Director Cindy Meany, which also included a tour of the home.

An internet meeting was also arranged with Mark I Love SPAM Benson. Benson was the British man who changed his name to reflect his love for SPAM, and who married Anna Benson during a ceremony within the museum in April of 2017.

For Lord, these experiences are a great way to spread and share the effects SPAM has had on people.

“That’s what’s so special about the SPAM brand in general and the SPAM Museum,” Lord said. “We are just so fortunate to have this place where we can tell this story and have these fanatics literally coming from all over the world to share their experiences of SPAM and why they love it so much.”

Jack said his project has to be done by the end of the school year and will include an interactive presentation to classmates.

Even though the topic is important to Jack, there is also a lasting interest he’s looking forward to fostering, especially when it comes to his favorite flavor of SPAM — maple-flavored.

“I’m going to be an honorary SPAMbassador,” he proclaimed. “I have to make a haiku — I’ve already done that. Answer a bunch of questions — I’ve already done that and then the final thing to do is send a photo and video of me making a SPAM recipe to Ms. Lord.”

His recipe of cubed SPAM stir-fried with tofu and pineapple has a particularly catchy name.

“It’s going to be the Jack Explosion,” he said. “That’s what I’m calling it.”