The Hershey Story is a museum on Chocolate Avenue in downtown Hershey. There are 4 different areas: the interactive Museum Experience, the Chocolate Lab, Café Zooka and the Museum Shop.
The Museum Experience is the entire second floor of the building and takes you through the history of Hershey – the man (Milton Hershey), the company and the town. The exhibits are really kid friendly; there are lots buttons to push and little window displays to look at. There is even one of the first Kiss wrapping machines and a button you can press to makes it go.
There is also a game you can play where you build your own Kiss making factory. Here is a video of our finished factory:
On the fist floor the is a Special Exhibit Gallery. From now until November 9, 2014 the exhibit explores life in the chocolate factory from 1905 to 1925. Here a picture of what the works uniforms looked like.
When you enter the exhibit everyone gets a New Worker Training Card and as you go through the exhibit there are training activities where you can try out the jobs that people used to do in the factory. After each activity you can stamp your Training Card for that activity. There are four jobs you can train for: roasting, refining, knock-out and wrapping.
For the Roasting activity you had to open a large oven door and look at the roasting cocoa beans inside.
In the Refining activity you had to push a large bath tub size cart that was use to move the chocolate around.
The knock-out activity was hitting the backside of a chocolate mold to get the chocolate bars to fall out.
The last activity was in the wrapping department where you had two choices: put 36 Hershey bars in a box or put 2.5 pounds exactly of Hershey Kisses in a box. Once your Training Card was complete you reported to the supervisor to choose your job assignment. Here are the jobs we got:
- Knock-Out Department – Pay: 9¢ per hour
- Longitude Department (pushing around the bath tub carts) – Pay 9¢ per hour
- Wrapping Department – Pay: 10¢ per 5 pound box of Kisses wrapped
The Chocolate Lab was by far the funnest activity. According to the website
the chocolate lab explores the unique qualities of chocolate through playful, hand-ons experiences.
Basically, you get to make something out of chocolate and then get to eat it at the end – it was totally awesome! We signed up for the Chocolate Beach Bars lab and there are many others you can choose from. The lab starts off with a short lesson on the history of Hershey Chocolate, they also ask questions to test your knowledge of Hershey candy. One of the most interesting thing that we learned was how the Kiss got its name; the noise that the machine made when making a Kiss was a kissing sound so they called them Kisses. Here is an example of the kind of questions they ask during this section: “In the pack of mini candy bars, which mini replaced the yellow wrappered Arrow bar?” Answer: Mr Goodbar. Then came the fun part. Everyone got their own chocolate mold that was about 2 x 3 inches and about 1/4 of a inch deep. Since we were doing Chocolate Beach Bars there was piece of plastic in the bottom of the mold with sugar beach shapes that would get transferred to chocolate bar. Each group got a bowl full of melted chocolate to put in the molds but before we did that, we had to suit up in aprons and hairs nets. Once the chocolate was in the mold we had the option of puts on some ‘beach toppings': crushed graham crackers and sea salt. I sprinkled a little salt in the corner of my bar, just to try it (it wasn’t very good). When we were done, all the chocolate bars were placed in a fridge to cool. While the chocolate was cooling we learned how chocolate was discovered and how it is made. It was a really fun experience.
Café Zooka is a fun little café inside the museum where you can grab a bite to eat. They offer delicious soups, personal pizzas, salads and sandwiches, as well as an array of delectable chocolate desserts.
The Museum Shop is a gift shop that has all kinds of Hershey merchandise.