A place for Pez heads
Since 1927, Americans have been fascinated with Pez, the simple sugary candies that come with quirky and whimsical plastic dispensers. At the company’s production facility in the town of Orange, a new visitors center opened this year to give the public a look inside the candy and its colorful past.
Organizers call the 6,000-square-foot facility the home of “all things Pez Candy.” Visitors will learn about the origins of the candy and how it grew to become a staple of childhood in America. A viewing window provides a look at the production floor, where workers continue to make the candy today.
Perhaps more famous than the candy itself, though, are the creative plastic dispensers with which it comes. The visitors center has the world’s largest collection of Pez dispensers and memorabilia on display, including the largest Pez dispenser ever created and a Pez motorcycle custom built by Orange County Choppers.
The visitors center also has an interactive Pez trivia game and a factory store.
Inside an Indian dwelling
Before British colonists made it part of New England, Connecticut was home to Native American groups like the Pequot people. The Pequot tribe is still active in the area and operates the Mashantucket Pequot Museum to introduce visitors to their history and culture.
This year, the large museum opened a new permanent exhibit titled “Pequot Lives: Almost Vanished.” The exhibit explores the struggles of the Pequot people to maintain their land base and cultural identity in the midst of a growing America in the 1920s.
The exhibit is based around the replicated house of Martha Langevin, a Pequot woman who lived in the area for much of the 1900s. Visitors will see some traditional Pequot items alongside American housewares typical to the early 20th century.
In the kitchen, a sound and light show tells the story of Langevin’s life on and off the Pequot reservation. Additional documents and images throughout the exhibit depict the lives of other Pequot people in the industrial age.
Studying art at Yale
In New Haven, visitors can tour the hallowed halls of celebrated Yale University, where they’ll find an art museum befitting an Ivy League institution. The Yale University Art Gallery houses an impressive and wide-ranging encyclopedic collection of art that includes everything from African ceremonial instruments to Indo-Pacific art, American painting and sculpture, and numerous pieces of modern art.
For the past 14 years, the museum has been doing an extensive $135 million expansion and renovation project. Although portions of the museum and its collection have been available throughout that time, the community will celebrate the completion of the entire project in December, when the museum reopens to the public in its entirety.
The finished renovation will expand the museum from its one original building to a suite of three interconnected buildings that will represent historic, midcentury and modern architecture.
The new space will allow curators to display more of the museum’s collection. Special areas with 16-foot-high ceilings will allow for the installation of large-scale modern art pieces.