The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is pulling a pre-packaged watermelon salad off of its Juneteenth menu after photos of the dish ignited a wave of controversy online.
The museum apologized Saturday after images of the new menu item were posted by TMZ and sparked immediate outrage on social media, saying, “As a museum, we apologize and acknowledge the negative impact that stereotypes have on communities of color.” The museum’s website and social media accounts have been advertising its “Juneteenth Jamboree,” an event series celebrating the African American community in Indianapolis.
“We are currently reviewing how we may best convey these stories and traditions during this year’s Juneteenth celebration as well as making changes around how future food selections are made by our food service provider,” the statement added.
Juneteenth is one of America’s oldest holidays and is observed each year on June 19 to mark the official end of slavery in the US.
The day, which gets its name from combining “June” and “19th,” has long been celebrated by black Americans as a symbol of their long-awaited emancipation.
Representatives for the museum defended $10 salad further, saying that the dish is a staple in many Juneteenth celebrations, including for the food court manager’s family’s.
“The team that made this selection included their staff members, who based this choice of food on their own family traditions,” the museum said.
Responding to a comment on Facebook, the museum took responsibility and said the names of menu items would be explained further with labels and other signs going forward.
“There should have been a label explaining the history and meaning behind this menu item and it should not have been on the shelf before that label was ready,” a museum spokesperson said in the Facebook comment. “We understand how this appears with no context and we apologize. We are pulling it from our food court immediately until the sign is ready to accompany it.”