Mar 28, 201405:08 PMPress Releases
Experience Life inside Milton Hershey’s Original Chocolate Factory in New Special Exhibit at The Hershey Story Museum
Ever wonder what it was actually like to work inside the most famous chocolate factory in the world? The Hershey Story Museum today announced a special exhibit that will give visitors a glimpse inside Milton Hershey’s original chocolate factory. “Chocolate Workers Wanted: Experience Factory Life Working for Mr. Hershey 1905-1925” features interactive exhibits, original machinery and other rarely seen artifacts from the factory.
In 1905, Milton Hershey opened a modern new chocolate factory in Hershey, Pa., that could mass-produce chocolate bars. The new factory made milk chocolate—previously a delicacy reserved only for the rich—a treat accessible to Americans from all walks of life. Milton Hershey’s marvelous new factory gave birth to America’s love affair with milk chocolate and would forever change the confectionery landscape in the United States.
The old factory, located at 19 East Chocolate Ave. in Hershey, Pa., closed in early 2012 after operations moved to a new factory a mile away on the west side of town. Now, The Hershey Story Museum has created a special exhibit that transports guests back to those early days of the world’s largest and most famous chocolate factory to see how Mr. Hershey built a town, a company and a world-famous brand by mass-producing one of the most delicious treats.
“Through a mix of artifacts, interactive elements and educational information, families and visitors of all ages will see and feel what life as a chocolate worker was like inside the famous Hershey chocolate factory,” said Valerie Seiber, collections manager for The Hershey Story Museum, regarding the special exhibit. “For decades, people from around the world came to see this storied factory and how Hershey’s beloved milk chocolate bars and Kisses were made. It was the most modern candy factory of its era and a marvel of mass production.” Seiber added that “Chocolate Workers Wanted” explores factory life prior to streamlined automation and during a period of rapid growth and expansion.
Guests will enter the exhibit as new hires and punch a training card, try on replicas of original uniforms and then begin their “shift,” trying out jobs in various original factory departments, which all involved manual labor. Departments include roasting, refining, knock-out, packing and weighing, and order fulfillment.
“Visitors, especially kids, will probably be surprised at the amount of physical effort that went into making chocolate in the early twentieth century,” said Seiber. “In this era where technology has largely replaced manual labor, the exhibit takes them back to a time when just about everything had to be done by hand.”
Each exhibit “department” includes engaging interactive displays that replicate original jobs. Some original equipment is on display, such as a metal bathtub Mr. Hershey had outfitted with wheels to transport liquefied chocolate to different areas of the factory. Several hundred bathtubs were purchased and used in the factory as late as 2012.
In addition to more than 70 artifacts dating back to 1905, the exhibit incorporates personal accounts from employees of that era. Excerpts of oral history interviews with some of the chocolate factory’s original workers are featured.
“The exhibit pays homage to Milton Hershey’s employees, all of whom helped make his business successful during the company’s most formative years,” added Seiber. “Our goal in creating the exhibit is to give families a true sense of ‘a day in the life’ of a chocolate factory worker.”
The new exhibit will also include details about the differences in men’s and women’s jobs and salaries in the factory. Archival images and films featuring early twentieth century factory workers will help visitors understand the difference between modern times versus the early 1900s. Vintage Hershey’s packaging will also be on display.
In 1903, Milton Hershey began building his new chocolate factory near the rural community of Derry Church, Pennsylvania, just a mile from his birthplace. Here he built a model industrial community, Hershey, Pennsylvania, which became home to the largest chocolate factory in the world.
“Chocolate Workers Wanted” is the longest-running special exhibit since The Hershey Story opened in 2009; the exhibit runs through Sunday, November 9, 2014. The special exhibit is included with admission to the Museum Experience or may be purchased separately.
For more information about the special exhibit, “Chocolate Workers Wanted: Experience Factory Life Working for Mr. Hershey 1905-1925,” visit hersheystory.org.