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The James Smithson medal was established in 1965 by the English chemist/mineralogist of the same name to honor great human achievement.

Dozens of persons, and a few groups, have been acknowledged with the award over the years, including Sir Edmund Hillary, actor James Whitmore, physicist Stephen Hawking, musicians Artie Shaw and Billy Joel, filmmaker Steven Spielberg, chef/educator Julia Child, and the Emerson String Quartet.

As a result of his well-publicized victory in Paris 43 years ago, Warren is now credited in part with bringing wine to the mainstream.

His efforts helped to alert the curators at the vast Smithsonian to look again at how it views wine’s contributions to the American culinary scene.

At the medal ceremony, Paula Johnson, curator of the museum, detailed some of the museum’s efforts to capture the actual physical Julia Child kitchen, using it as the centerpiece of an exhibit that the Smithsonian now says is one of the museums most popular.

Called “Food: Transforming the American Table, 1950-2000,” it starts with Julia’s actual last kitchen.

Also included in the exhibit is, “Wine for the Table: The tremendous growth and expansion of wine and wine making is an important story in postwar America. Discover how new technologies, innovators, and changing attitudes led to the production of wine in all 50 states by 2000.”

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