1975 Tom Hughes and his 5th grade students create a classroom exhibit they call The Potato Museum, at the International School of Brussels (Belgium)
1976 Tom begins to collect potato memorabilia. The potato project continues as an after school club. The club sponsors a litter clean-up campaign in the community; the results include some 6,000 potato chip bags which are strung together as a garland. The chip bag garland decorates the playground for an afternoon of potato races and games. Local Belgian school children join in the festivities.
1977 The exhibit with Tom's collection expands to fill three unused classrooms and attracts community and press attention.
1978 Tom spends the summer researching the history of the potato. He attends the European Potato Association conference in Warsaw, Poland. Later he visits potato research centers in the USSR, the nations of Scandinavia and Germany.
1979 He resigns from his teaching position to continue research. He visits
potato farms and research centers in France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, France, Spain, Ireland and the United Kingdom.