(Chicago, Illinois, United States) – The National Hellenic Museum in Chicago, Illinois announces its newest exhibit, Sweet Home Chicago: The History of America’s Candy Capital, which highlights the Greek American candy-makers that were in business in the early 1900’s in Chicago. In 1906, the Greek Star, a Greek newspaper based in the Chicago area, reported that there were over 925 Greek-owned candy and ice cream shops located in the city. In 1914, the Illinois Food Commission mentioned in its annual report that the “Bulletin Number 28” report, which had to do with ice cream, was also published in Greek to benefit the native Greek speakers who owned these businesses. At the time, the ice cream, soda, and candy shops employed around 30,000 Greek Americans.
The exhibit focuses on the history and origin of Chicago’s candy-making industry starting in the 19th century and how it relates to immigration. Specifically, it will trace the history of this industry and how it relates to the Greek immigrants of the time period. The exhibit is also expected to draw in a diverse range of visitors. Some will approach viewing the displays with an air of nostalgia, as they recall childhoods spent in these shops. Others may even recall their own families’ involvement and ownership with these shops. Visitors will also recognize big name sweets such as Milk Duds, Tootsie Rolls, the Dove Bar, and Cracker Jacks, most of which were created and are still being produced in Chicago.
There will be plenty of exhibits to enjoy while here. Besides the usual photographs and informational plaques, there will also be a short documentary to watch that was narrated by Bill Kurtis, who was a CBS news anchor. There will also be some interactive displays, a Candy IQ Quiz, and the Twisted Candy Challenge. Keep checking the museum website because there will also be ice cream socials, candy-making workshops, and book presentations taking place while the exhibit runs. Besides learning about the candy, visitors will also get a feel for the entrepreneurial spirit amongst Greek immigrants, who essentially left Greece to find new opportunities and ways to earn a living.