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Naper Settlement’s Summer Exhibit Explores Chicago and Naperville’s Candy Making Roots

Naper Settlement brings Chicago’s candy making history to Naperville with its current exhibit, “Sweet Home Chicago: The History of America’s Candy Capital”, on view now through July 28. Originally produced by the Elmhurst History Museum and curated by Lance Tawzer, now director of innovation and experience at Naper Settlement, this interactive exhibit details Chicago’s chapter of the candy industry, celebrating the stories of iconic candy names like Snickers, Butterfinger, Tootsie Roll, Cracker Jack, and more.

Naper Settlement is weaving Naperville’s candy story into “Sweet Home Chicago: The History of America’s Candy Capital” with a new component to the traveling exhibit. Patrons can explore the history of locally based Amurol Products Company, famous for their novelty gum offerings such as Bubble Tape and Ouch! Bubble Gum. The company, owned by Wrigley Company, won the hearts of many Naperville children in the 1980s and 1990s who served as members of the Candy Tasters Club, providing feedback on everything from concept and packaging to flavor. In addition to showcasing Amurol’s history, the exhibit will feature interviews from these local candy tasters sharing their experience.

“Many of us have cherished memories around candy that extend from our growing up years into adulthood. Treats in Halloween bags and chocolate on Valentine’s Day are rites of passage for many. We are hearing from people who were part of the Amurol Candy Tasters Club, that arriving home with their bounty of candy and gum after a tasting is a favorite memory of their childhood and teen years. We would love to hear from more people who participated in the club,” said Donna Sack, vice president and chief program officer.

In conjunction with the exhibit, the museum will also offer a special edition of its Fourth Thursday Pop-Up program with a movie screening of Shelf Life: The Story of Lanzi Candy at Classic Cinemas on July 25. This documentary film examines the themes of family legacies, immigration, and the American Dream through the lens of the candy making industry. Guests will have the opportunity to participate in a talkback session with the film’s creator, Michael Lahey. “Sweet Home Chicago: The History of America’s Candy Capital” is on view now through July 28 at Naper Settlement. Naperville residents, members, and children under 4 receive free admission. For more information on the exhibit, movie screening, and admission rates, visit www.NaperSettlement.org

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