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The Hershey Story Museum

Hershey Story

There’s a sweet history inside this Hershey museum that shares the fascinating story of the man behind the chocolate. From bankruptcy to brilliance, learn more about Milton S. Hershey at The Hershey Story, The Museum on Chocolate Avenue, an interactive and entertaining attraction for the whole family.
 

Visit the Museum
 

The Hershey Story Museum is located in Downtown Hershey on Chocolate Avenue. It’s open daily, year-round with some holiday exceptions, making it a perfect addition to your Hersheypark® or Hershey’s Chocolate World Attraction visit.

  • Hours: 9 AM to 5 PM daily
  • Parking: Free parking is available in the parking garage located behind the Museum.
  • Admission: $9.50 - $13.50 per person for Museum Experience
  • Combo Passes to Hershey Gardens: Purchase tickets to both the Museum and Hershey Gardens and save up to $5.
  • Discounts: Active duty military personnel receive free admission to the Museum Experience. Families of active duty military personnel, veterans and their families, and teachers receive $3 off admission. Valid ID required. Guests of The Hotel Hershey® and Hershey LodgeSM receive complimentary general admission to the Museum and Hershey Gardens. Guests of Hersheypark® Camping Resort receive preferred pricing to the Museum and Hershey Gardens.
  • Accessibility: The Museum is wheelchair ready, and all videos are captioned.
  • Pets: Service animals only
  • Shop & Dine: Adjacent to the Museum lobby, guests can shop for The Hershey Story souvenirs in the Museum Shop and enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dessert at The Pantry Café.

 


Sweet History: Museum Exhibits
 

Immerse yourself in the world of Milton Hershey, starting with his humble beginnings through to his sweet innovations at The Hershey Company and the legacy that lives on today.

Throughout the Museum Experience exhibits, you’ll find interactive stations including more than 30 animated stories about his life delivered in a fresh and clever way. When you visit the front desk, you’ll receive a coin that you can customize and use to activate the exhibits.

Hershey’s Early Life

Milton S. Hershey was born September 13, 1857, in Derry Church, what this area was known as before the town of Hershey was Hershey! Mr. Hershey’s parents encouraged him to pursue his dreams, instilling in young Milton an insatiable entrepreneurial spirit that eventually led him around the country and through two bankruptcies before finally finding the formula for success.

  • Don’t Miss: The candy cabinet Mr. Hershey’s father designed. Mr. Hershey spent a lot of money developing and marketing the display boxes, but this venture ultimately left him bankrupt.
  • Most People Don’t Know: Mr. Hershey’s middle name is Snavely.
     
Sweet Innovations & The Hershey Company

Although Mr. Hershey didn’t invent chocolate, he revolutionized the confection from a luxury to an everyday treat. He created a recipe that used fresh milk, which was innovative for the time. Mr. Hershey had a pivotal “Aha!” moment at the 1893 Columbian Exposition where he purchased his first chocolate-making machines.

  • Don’t Miss: Authentic factory equipment including a Hershey’s Kisses wrapping machine
  • Most People Don’t Know: Hershey’s Kisses were hand wrapped from 1907 to 1921.

Milton Hershey with boy

The Power of Promotion

In addition to chocolate making, Mr. Hershey excelled at promoting his products. He emphasized the health benefits of cocoa products, featured intricate artwork on his packaging, and encouraged elaborate storefront window displays of Hershey products. Guests of The Hershey Story can even try their hand at packaging design using interactive create-your-own-wrapper stations.

  • Don’t Miss: The timeline of Hershey’s products from 1894 to today
  • Most People Don’t Know: Hershey’s first milk chocolate bar wrapper was white with gold lettering and featured an image of a cow and a baby in a cacao pod.
The Town of Hershey

Hershey (or Derry Church) was an ideal location for chocolate production due to its proximity to dairy farms and rail lines. When Mr. Hershey returned to his hometown to expand his chocolate business, he didn’t just open a factory; he built a community. He envisioned the town of Hershey to be an ideal place to work, live, and play.

  • Don’t Miss: Personal belongings of Milton, and his wife, Catherine, on display.
  • Most People Don’t Know: Mr. Hershey almost sailed on the RMS Titanic. He avoided the ill-fated voyage because business matters forced him to leave early from Europe on another ship. His canceled check to the White Star Line is on display. 
     
Mr. Hershey’s Legacy

In addition to his legacy as a chocolatier, Milton Hershey touched the lives of countless children through his philanthropy. Milton and Catherine Hershey didn’t have any children of their own, and in 1909, they established the Hershey Industrial School for orphaned boys. Today, Milton Hershey School, as it is now known, provides cost-free, private education and housing for underprivileged children.

  • Don’t Miss: The only recording of Mr. Hershey’s voice
  • Most People Don’t Know: In addition to opening a children's school, Mr. Hershey created the M.S. Hershey Foundation to support education and cultural enrichment in Derry Township.
     
Special Exhibit: Hershey’s Cuba

We bet you didn’t know there’s a town in Cuba also called Hershey! In 1916, Mr. Hershey established a community in Cuba—similar to the community he created in Pennsylvania—after purchasing a sugar mill and plantation. His Cuban venture supplied the sugar for his chocolate. Similar to Hershey, Pennsylvania, the town of Hershey, Cuba, was built for the employees.  His influence on Cuba was so significant that he was awarded the “Grand Cross of the National Order” by the Cuban president in 1933.

  • Don’t Miss: The video microscope that shows sugar crystals up close
  • Most People Don’t Know: Hershey, Cuba had many of the same amenities as Hershey, Pennsylvania, such as a hotel Hershey, a school for orphaned children, a botanical garden, and employee housing.

 

Milton's chandelier

 

Hands On: Interactive Activities
 

Once you’ve learned about the man behind the chocolate bar, you’ll be ready to taste some chocolate. The Hershey Story Museum offers some interactive—and tasty—activities involving America’s favorite treat: chocolate, of course!

Chocolate lab
Tastings

Did you know that Hershey’s Milk Chocolate is made using a variety of beans that come from around the world? In Tastings, guests can sample warm drinking chocolates that are made using beans grown in one specific area of the globe, or single-source beans. Each single-source bean has a different flavor based on climate, rainfall, and surrounding vegetation. Countries of origin include Mexico, Venezuela, Ghana, Tanzania, and Indonesia, each with a different percentage of cacao and unique flavor notes. While Mom and Dad sample exotic sweets, the kids can transform a mug of warm milk into hot cocoa with a special chocolate stirring lolly.

  • Dates & Hours: Open daily. Hours vary by season.
  • Warm Drinking Chocolates Price: $10 for a full flight of six, $6 for half flight of 3
  • Tastings for Kids: $6
Chocolate Lab

Learn all about chocolate—and make your own chocolate treat—in the Chocolate Lab at The Hershey Story. These 45-minute, instructor-led workshops teach guests how chocolate is made from “bean to bar” and some of the secrets behind what makes Hershey’s chocolate so delicious. Then, class participants get to make their own chocolate treat to take home. Class themes change seasonally, so make sure to check the Events Calendar regularly. Have fun in Chocolate Cobweb Creations during Halloween and Candy Cane Bark and Chocolate Reindeer during the holidays. In summertime, make your own s’mores-inspired treat!

  • Schedule: Offered daily. Number of classes and class times vary by season. Lab schedule is subject to change. Tickets can be purchased day-of at the Museum on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Admission: $9.50 - $13.50 per person
  • Age Requirements: Age 5 and up. Children under 5 are not permitted in the Chocolate Lab, and children age 5-12 must be accompanied by a paying adult.
  • Allergy Information: The Chocolate Lab is not Kosher, nor is it allergen free.
Chocolate Tastings
Just for Kids: I Spy

The Museum’s littlest visitors can enjoy an “I Spy” activity designed for preschoolers. With the help of Mom and Dad, kids can spot some of the Museum’s more colorful and easy-to-locate items. Ask for your free I Spy guide when entering the Museum Experience.

More in Downtown Hershey
 

There are even more fun activities to enjoy in Downtown Hershey along Chocolate Avenue, the sweetest street in town.

ZooAmerica® North American Wildlife Park: This 11-acre zoo, located adjacent to Hersheypark is open year-round with separate access from Downtown Hershey. Explore the indoor/outdoor exhibits of more than 200 animals from different regions like Big Sky Country and Southern Swamps.

Hershey Theatre: With a little bit of planning, you can take in a show at the historic and beautiful Hershey Theatre. Their year-round lineup includes Broadway shows, musicians, comedians, children’s shows, world-renowned entertainers, and the Hershey Symphony. While you’re there, be sure to take in the Theatre’s stunning, opulent décor including Italian lava rock marble floors and heavenly ceiling murals. And that’s just the lobby!

 

 

Hershey Escape Room: Work together to find clues, answer riddles, solves puzzles, and unlock the door to one of their whimsically themed escape rooms. When you’re done, grab a bite to eat next door at Hershey Biergarten.