a visit to The Hershey Story chocolate museum

In previous posts, I have highlighted an overview of the Hershey, Pennsylvania experience and the Hershey Trust, introduced you to some of the area’s finest hotels, and included a visit to the Hershey Gardens. In this post, I’d like to take you to the Hershey Story, a museum devoted to the Hershey Chocolate Company–the largest chocolate manufacturer in North America–and Milton S. Hershey, the man who founded it in 1894.

hershey-story

This captivating mural of Milton S. Hershey and children of the Hershey School is displayed at the Hershey Story Chocolate Museum on Chocolate Avenue in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The mural is done in the “Trompe-l’oeil” style.

As I’ve mentioned before, every chocolate museum is different. Some focus exclusively on geographic regions, some primarily on the history of cacao and chocolate, and others on the equipment used to make chocolate moulds and chocolates.

the hershey story is a chocolate museum and tribute to the man who made chocolate accessible to the american public

Opened to the public in January, 2009 and formally titled The Hershey Story, The Museum on Chocolate Avenue, The Hershey Story focuses primarily on the personal journey of Milton Hershey–from a child raised in the strict discipline of the Mennonite faith in small-town Pennsylvania, to the failures and successes of the talented entrepreneur who found a way to make chocolate accessible and affordable to all. It is a truly fascinating facility, and I would highly recommend a half-day visit to see the museum exhibits, partake in The Tastings, and make your own bar in The Chocolate Lab.

hershey-pennsylvania

It was so much fun tasting six different shooters of warm chocolate drinks featuring different origins of cacao in The Tastings room at The Hershey Story. We tried a 75% Tanzanian (East Africa), a 72% Venezuelan (South America), a 66% Mexican, a 40% Ghanan (West Africa), a 33% Java (Indonesia), and a 33% signature Hershey blend featuring local Pennsylvania milk. I loved the 75% Tanzanian, which featured an intense fruitiness coupled with floral notes.

hershey-story

The Chocolate Lab is a fun and educational activity at The Hershey Story at which you learn about chocolate origins and can create your own customized chocolate bar.

Hershey Chocolate has been the American favourite since Milton Hershey opened his chocolate/candy factory in 1905. It took two years to complete the massive facility, but Hershey Chocolate quickly became a hit and has remained a sentimental favourite with many chocolate lovers throughout the generations.

hershey-story

These giant silos were built to house the cocoa beans that Milton Hershey used to make his delicious Hershey Chocolate.

But just what makes Hershey Chocolate so good, and so different?

Milton Hershey invented the double condensed milk process that gives Hershey Chocolate its unique taste. Only fresh milk from local farms is used to make Hershey milk chocolate. The milk goes through a special processing that increases its butyric acid content. This creates a unique flavour and texture in the chocolate–so much so that other companies have been known to add extra butyric acid to their chocolate to try and replicate the Hershey flavour. Who knew?

hershey-story

This milk condensing cart exhibit at The Hershey Story was the secret to Milton Hershey’s special milk chocolate.

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hershey-chocolate

The Hershey’s Golden Almond Bars are the luxury brand of Hershey chocolate bars made with super silky milk chocolate.

Visit this website to see all the different chocolate and candy products that Hershey produces.

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

92 Responses

  1. Oh how I wish I could eat chocolate and down some shooters. I’m not sure I could stand the temptation but it sure looks intriguing!

  2. Veronica jerry says:

    Hi,
    ……..I can never say no to chocolate museums, factories and tours Hershey chocolates seem to have the kind of taste that I love……Thank You

  3. okflashfiles says:

    Hello,
    I LOVE CHOCOLATE!!! Learning more about the history of chocolates is amazing information!

    Thanks

  4. Suruchi says:

    Chocolates makes my day and this article of yours too have. I would love visiting and learning at Hershey story. The shooters look interesting and those cocoa storage towers are huge. I felt that mural too is really beautiful

  5. Mike says:

    Awesome! Nothing like a tour of a chocolate factory! Great history lesson too. I’m sure the samples were delicious!

  6. Ami says:

    For some reason, whenever I watched Charlie and the Chocolate factory, Hersheys is what I could relate to. Now after reading this post, I so know that is true. It was quite interesting to read abt it
    Ami recently posted…Experiencing Wayanad in MonsoonsMy Profile

    • Hi Ami. I think that The Hershey Story Museum shows us that there is a social conscience to the Hershey Chocolate Company. That Milton Hershey was interested in building a community that would helps change the lives of children and their families through the opportunities that his school created, and the community program that his Trust has founded and supported.
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…chocolate beer and more in Hershey, PAMy Profile

  7. Isabel Leong says:

    I LOVE CHOCOLATE!!! Learning more about the history of Hershey’s chocolates is amazing information, too! Now I feel a bit more enriched whenever I put another piece of chocolate in my mouth :p

  8. What a fascinating museum. The Hershey story museum is definitely a must visit for all chocolate lovers. I am sure a visit in itself would be a homage of sorts to the Man who brought chocolate to all of us. The mural of Hershey with the children is so lifelike, couldn’t take my eyes off it.
    Sandy N Vyjay recently posted…Information for Travelers -Yellow Fever VaccinationMy Profile

  9. neha says:

    I can never say no to chocolate museums, factories and tours 🙂 Hershey chocolates seem to have the kind of taste that I love. I would definitely want to visit here. What a wonderful time you had
    neha recently posted…Four days in Switzerland : Our beautiful itineraryMy Profile

  10. SindhuMurthy says:

    I m a great fan of Hershey chocolate and it was so much fun knowing about its history. Who would have imagined there is an entire museum dedicated to Hershey. Great post!

  11. I’m giggling that you made it to Hershey before this Pennsylvania native! It’s so great to read about an entrepreneur who also had a heart. Milton should be an example to a lot of others. I think I’d like the chocolate shot.

  12. Abigail Sinsona says:

    Hershey’s is my favorite chocolate brand! I would love to go on this tour and maybe pick up a few chocolate treats in the end!

  13. Let me tell you Hershey is not just the Americans favourite but my favourite too! I have never seen them being sold in Indian shops but whenever someone visits America they bring Hershey chocolate for me! I love its taste, shape, smell and everything about it!

  14. Edith says:

    I love Hershey’s chocolate! This is such a cool experience. I would want to eat so many chocolates haha. Learning about must put a whole different perspective on how you view the chocolate now. Glad you got to experience this fun activity and tour.

  15. Erica says:

    I had no clue that Milton Hershey was a Mennonite. Though I know that general area has Amish and Mennonite communities. How interesting. It is amazing that there was a time not so long ago when chocolate bars weren’t everywhere. Kind of makes you understand Hershey’s major contribution to our culture.

  16. I could eat condensed milk with a spoon right out of the can. No wonder I love the taste of Hershey chocolate so much! It would be interesting to try the different flavors in a shooter. The deeper the color, the better for me!
    alison abbott recently posted…Tasting Europe a Viking River Rhine CruiseMy Profile

  17. Yum! This looks like a fun experience. I would especially love tasting the warm chocolate drinks. YUM! I always like buying chocolates when I am in Hershey, so uber fresh! 😉
    melody pittman recently posted…Where to Stay in Panama City, PanamaMy Profile

  18. I’ve never heard of butyric acid content but it sounds like a secret weapon when it comes to making Hershey chocolate so delicious!

  19. The warm chocolate drink sound so tempting. It’s a perfect family vacation. I am sure you had a great time.

  20. I’m not a big fan of Hershey’s chocolate, not since I moved to Europe and discovered the joys of Belgian chocolates. (I haven’t tasted Hershey’s luxury line yet.) Nevertheless, I think I’d enjoy the museum, especially those tastes!

  21. Mags says:

    Now that’s my kind of museum. I have to admit, Hershey is not usually my favorite, but I never turn down chocolate!
    Mags recently posted…I Kissed Jessica the Hippo! (and I liked it)My Profile

  22. Such a cool Museum and what a nice different focus than just the chocolate itself. And yes please on those shooters of warm chocolate drinks!

  23. Carol Colborn says:

    We visited this Museum in 2012. In fact, we were so fascinated by it, we did the tour twice, one after the other!

  24. Amanda says:

    This brought back some wonderful memories, I’m a Brit but my sister worked as a nanny in Pennsylvania for a several years when we were younger and she always came home for the holidays with Hershey’s

  25. Kristina says:

    wow, tour in Hershey’s sounds cool
    Doreen, you have visited so many places – where is the best chocolate after all ? 🙂 I am curious

  26. When I was growing up, my parents worked at a camp near Hershey, PA every summer, so we frequently went on trips to the town. This would include a visit to the amusement park and to the Hershey chocolate factory. I loved that the town actually smelled of cooking chocolate. Back in the day, the tours of the factory actually had us wandering around the actual operation—no glass partitions—-and always, a Hershey’s kiss at the end.

  27. I’d love to do a chocolate tasting … or two … or three! We were quite close to Hersey, Pennsylvania last September and never even thought about going to the town. Well, that’ll have to change the next time we visit family in the area!
    Anita @ No Particular Place To Go recently posted…The Antebellum Houses of Natchez, Mississippi and Monuments of The Lost CauseMy Profile

  28. Lara Dunning says:

    We stayed in Hershey when I was a preteen, would love to go back and explore as an adult. I would love to make my own chocolate bar and do a tasting!
    Lara Dunning recently posted…Get a Peek Inside the Skagit River’s First Hydroelectric PowerhouseMy Profile

  29. pranav says:

    wow! this is amazing 🙂
    like I too want to visit their factory
    anyways thanks for the information

  30. Jeri says:

    Given Hershey’s prevalence in the chocolate market, a visit to their museum would be a must when in the area. To me it would be like visiting the Coca Cola museum, I don’t use the product, but it’s cultural significance can’t be denied.

  31. Karen Warren says:

    I’ve never tried Hershey chocolate – I’ll have to look out for it next time I’m in the US.
    Karen Warren recently posted…Book Review: Secret Marvels of the World by Lonely PlanetMy Profile

  32. Going to the Hershey factory would be so much fun! I need to do this if I make it out that way. Such an interesting history behind the factory and how they make chocolate.

  33. Marcelle says:

    Being a Swiss I’m devoted to chocolate and belong to one of the people eating kilos a year 😉 Of course the Hershey Story is of interest to me!

  34. I love Hershey chocolates. They are famous not only in America but all over the world. Would like to know more about the success story of Mr. Milton Hershey.
    Moumita De Sarkar recently posted…Procrastinate – learn to avoid it and try adapting a proactive attitudeMy Profile

  35. Yummy! I absolutely love chocolate, what a great way to travel!!!!
    Tam Warner Minton recently posted…You are Looking for Ocean Adventures, I am Offering the Sea of Cortez!My Profile

  36. Finally! A celebration of milk chocolate. I definitely want to make my own bar in The Chocolate Lab!
    Carole Terwilliger Meyers recently posted…Good Eats: Lafayette, NYCMy Profile

  37. Jackie Smith says:

    I agree with Donna – I’d go for the chocolate shooters! Fun post and like Judy I could use a bit of chocolate right now!
    Jackie Smith recently posted…Escape ~ A Summer’s ‘Slog’ down Memory LaneMy Profile

  38. Donna Janke says:

    What an interesting story about Hershey Chocolate. The chocolate shooter tasting sounds like a lot of fun.
    Donna Janke recently posted…Honey Wine Tour at Chinook Arch MeaderyMy Profile

  39. Sue Reddel says:

    This tour, tasting and making your own bar sounds like so much fun. Who knew that Mr. Hershey would have so much importance in bringing chocolate to all of us.
    Sue Reddel recently posted…Luxurious and Tasty Fairmont Gold in Washington DCMy Profile

    • That is definitely part of the Hershey Legacy, Sue. As TammyJo said in her comment, education and adult activities were not part of the Hershey environment 20 and more years ago. But I think that has definitely changed in the last 10 years as consumers really do want quality chocolate and they want to know where it’s coming from and that the cacao has been sustainably sourced.
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…a visit to The Hershey Story chocolate museumMy Profile

  40. Kaylene says:

    The Hershey Story Chocolate Museum is on my and my mother’s bucket list. We really want to get there soon! It sounds like such an interesting museum to visit, definitely a history I’d love to learn about!

  41. I’m so excited from reading your post that I want to go buy some Hershey chocolate – Hershey Kisses are my favorites.
    Judy Freedman recently posted…My First Visit To Greece: Sea-Worthy Adventures in SantoriniMy Profile

  42. It’s so impressive when a successful entrepreneur takes his world and expands it for all to appreciate including the journey. Sharing and paying if forward. Thanks Doreen.

  43. jane says:

    After so many ‘craft beer’ tastings in my travels, I think I would love the flight of Hershey chocolate drinks – a lot!
    jane recently posted…Château-Hopping Stop #2: Le Château MontebelloMy Profile

  44. Betty Jackson says:

    I love stories about how people and products are designed and made.
    This story is a very sweet one about a man and an idea that is still working and producing a favourite treat today.
    Thanks

  45. Janice Chung says:

    Now that I have a friend who lives in PA, I need to figure out a way to stop here. I LOVE chocolate and while I would love to taste (eat) it, I also like learning, so this would be a great visit.

  46. Looks like the place has really changed since I was there as a little girl. Seems more mature and informative than just geared toward getting you to buy things.
    TammyJo Eckhart recently posted…A New Sugar Free Chocolate OptionMy Profile

  47. Catarina says:

    Seems like a wonderful museum, Doreen. Not only is Hershey’s chocolate delicious the museum seems to be an interesting experience to visit.
    Catarina recently posted…How do digital companies succeed?My Profile

  48. Phoenicia says:

    I would not mind a tour in a Hershey factory!

    Hershey bars taste quite different to chocolate in the UK. I would say they are sweeter.

    I should have guessed one of the ingredients in Hershey bars is condensed milk. Condensed milk is used by UK bakers/confectioners to make caramel and fudge – oh so sweet and oh so tasty!
    Phoenicia recently posted…Do you what you need to do, to be where you need to be!My Profile

  49. That would be fun to taste shooters of different warm chocolate drinks :-). We actually love condensed milk on its own – can eat it right from the can :-). Very British… Didn’t know that it goes into making Hershey chocolate!
    Sand In My Suitcase recently posted…Comment on Is Osaka worth visiting in Japan? What you’ll miss if you don’t go by Janice and GeorgeMy Profile

  50. Susan Cooper says:

    How cool is that? I would greatly enjoy touring Hershey’s operation. I know it would be a blast all around.

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