Hormel Foods Corporate Office South and Spam Museum

Hormel Foods Corporate Office South and Spam Museum

Austin, MN

77,000 Square Feet

An iconic American food staple of the 20th Century, Spam’s name-recognition and popularity earned warranted its own museum. Sharing a building with the corporate office of its parent company, Hormel Foods, in its hometown of Austin, Minnesota. The renowned food manufacturer asked ISG to design plans for the new museum that celebrates Spam through fun and unique displays.

Before housing the Spam Museum and Hormel Foods Corporate Headquarters, the previous building was a vacant 77,000 square-foot Kmart facility. The 24,000 square-foot Museum replaced the auto service wing of the store, and transformed a once empty space into a vibrant and lighthearted structure. The building includes a spacious lobby, ample exhibit space, auditorium/theater, diner and coffee shop, retail space, and outdoor children’s play area. Unusual exhibits include a quiz show, a Spam can wall, and information about Spam’s involvement in World War II. One of the most important challenges of the project was planning the exterior, which would represent the business side of Hormel Foods, as well as the playful atmosphere of the Museum. Architects devised a farmer’s market design, which reflected Hormel’s historic ties to the agricultural community. Classic red brick, arched windows, and a gabled roof were mixed with Spam’s well-known blue and yellow color scheme, which is showcased in the roof, awning, and a checkered pattern above entrance doors.

Renovations were also conducted across Hormel Food’s corporate wing of the building. Common masonry visibly connects the two sections, but the design blueprints for each are markedly different in order to separate the corporate and commercial environments. The entrance to the Hormel Foods Corporate Headquarters features an entry canopy with different signage than what is seen at the Museum. Changes were also made to the interior. Electric and mechanical engineering plans placed cables, data access, and HVAC systems underneath a raised floor to create a cleaner office appearance.

Since its grand opening, the Spam Museum has attracted visitors on an international scale. The building received design recognition by Architecture Minnesota Magazine, and was also featured in Commercial Investment Real Estate Magazine. The opening of the museum provided the additional benefit of revitalizing the downtown Austin area. With the help of ISG, Hormel Foods created an engaging place where Spam admirers can congregate and learn about the history of the iconic brand.


  • The renovation received local and national publicity for its unique and fun Museum displays; design recognition by Architecture Minnesota magazine; and was featured in Commercial Investment Real Estate magazine. The project was also highlighted in several publications about adaptive reuse including the book "Big Box Reuse" by Julia Christensen, which featured ten of the most successful adaptive reuse projects from throughout the country.


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