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The Tupperware Museum: Off the Beaten Path in Florida

It seems there’s a museum for everything. Have you heard of the Tupperware Museum? It’s a pretty fascinating place.

This article on the Tupperware Museum in Florida is from Tom and Patti Burkett, who report on off the beaten path spots they discover as they travel the country in their RV. You can hear them each week on our RV Podcast, which comes out every Wednesday.

Here’s their story on the Tupperware Museum:

Maybe you missed the GE Home of Tomorrow at the 1964 World’s Fair, but millions more have had the chance to see it at Disney World.  Just as sure as the end of World War 2 ushered in a new era in homeownership and domestic science, it brought with it new products for the home and kitchen.  

You may remember “Is it live, or is it Memorex?” or “Nothings Sucks like Electrolux”   If you do, you’ll remember the neighborhood ladies who sold Tupperware.  Maybe one of them was your mom or your grandmother.

Earl Tupper invented Tupperware

You might think this plastics juggernaut was the brainchild of Earl Tupper.  After all, Earl had gone to work in Massachusetts’ plastic industry after his Tupper Tree Doctors company went bust during the great depression.  And he did invent the trademark burping Tupper seal.  

But old Earl was an introvert, a lab man and inventor, not a salesman or promoter.  Enter Brownie Wise.  Brownie had cut her teeth selling Stanley products, brooms and mops and cleaning chemicals.  When she saw Earl’s plasticware, she knew just what was needed.

The Tupperware Museum tells the story

Tupperware home parties were an opportunity for the newly liberated homemaker to strut her stuff.  She showed off her house and kitchen, whipped up a batch of delicious party foods, and demonstrated the product by throwing it on the floor, serving on it, cooking in it, and extolling the flavor-saving virtue of the upper seal.  

The Tupperware Museum: Off the Beaten Path in Florida 1
From the Tupperware Museum

Soon enough, Earl noticed just how much product Brownie was ordering, and brought her into the company to develop a nationwide network of party hostesses.  She organized conventions, called jubilees, with skits and musicians and prizes, taking advantage of the sales force that was the country’s stay-at-home moms.

The Great Tupperware Divide

In the late 1950s, Tupper and Wise were on the outs.  Success was making her arrogant and him jealous and testy.  Without warning, he fired her and sold the company. He divorced his wife and donated their 200 acre farm and historic homestead to Bryant College.   To avoid taxes, he bought an island and moved to Costa Rica, where he died in 1983. 

How the Tupperware Museum came to be

The largest collection of Tupperware is at Syracuse University in New York, but all this history can be readily explored in Kissimmee, Florida at a place called the Tupperware Confidence Center,  located just behind the main lobby at the Tupperware Brands Global Headquarters in Kissimmee just south of Orlando.

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Tupperware canisters at the Tupperware museum

There you can see the lettuce keeper and the celery keeper and the snap-top salt and pepper shakers you remember, as well as all the new Tupperware products.  You can watch demonstrations in the on-site kitchen and visit the gift shop for an eye-popping array of colors and uses.

Tupper was a prolific inventor, and received hundreds of patents, but will always be remembered for Tupperware, which had sales of nearly three billion dollars last year.  Women around the world are still selling Tupperware and attending jubilees.  

A new look at old ideas, some historical tidbits you never knew (but probably should), and just the right thing to solve that storage problem in your RV—they’re all waiting for you, out here off the beaten path.

Want more Off the Beaten Path reports?

If you enjoyed this look at the Tupperware Museum, you can find more Off the Beaten Path reports in the archives. CLICK HERE to find them.


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