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The Past is Prologue: Hershey Museum

The newest incarnation of the Hershey Museum, The Hershey Story was dedicated on January 30. But having a museum in our community is not new.

Milton Hershey intended to make his community an interesting and enjoyable place to live, work, and visit. In addition to endowing a school for orphaned boys, Hershey contributed millions of dollars for the creation of first-class amenities, including a community center, hotel, botanical garden, zoo, theater, arena, stadium and museum. Milton Hershey wanted to offer the community opportunities for a wider range of experiences than might typically be available in Central Pennsylvania.

The first Hershey Museum, founded in 1933, was established when Milton Hershey purchased a significant collection of Native North American artifacts assembled by John G. Worth of Philadelphia. Worth, a knowledgeable collector of Native American material culture, spent many years in the American West, and served as a civilian scout during the last of the Indian Wars. The museum, known as the Hershey American Indian Museum, was housed in Dr. Martin Hershey’s former Derry Road residence, adjacent to the chocolate factory. The Museum offered visitors an opportunity to explore how different American Indian tribes lived through a varied collection of clothing, tools, baskets and containers. In an era before television, the Museum offered visitors a window to peoples and cultures very different from Hershey and helped visitors to understand that the world was a large and varied place.