A museum preserving one company's history of preserving food.
In 1946, grocery stores began stocking the patented “burping” plasticware that would come to revolutionize the world of leftovers. A polyethylene brainchild of Earl Tupper, the Tupperware Seal of Freshness has also become a seal of American ingenuity—and at the Tupperware Confidence Center, a statue of an actual seal.
“Tuppy” the Tupperware seal is just one of the many wonders of the museum housed at the company’s headquarters in Kissimmee, Florida. Keen observers will note that the stone personification is, in fact, a sea lion and not a seal, but reality has never stood in the way of a good marketing campaign.
Under Tuppy’s watchful gaze, visitors can unlid the vast history of the durable container brand by perusing plastic porringers, vintage dining sets, an early molding machine, and even the company’s breakthrough product, the Wonderbowl. Alongside vintage machinery and products, there’s also a wide array of colorful, touchscreen displays, some of which demonstrate how lightweight, airtight storage has shaped dining, leftovers, and beyond.
Visitors might wonder why the space is called is called a “confidence center.” This is tied to the company’s “chain of confidence” campaign of empowering women, which is also celebrated in the museum. The entrance features a tribute to Brownie Wise, the woman behind the “Tupperware Party,” an event by and for women focused on selling the product. She eventually became Tupperware’s vice president of marketing, and the first woman to be featured on the cover of Businessweek. While Wise was essential to Tupperware’s success, she often clashed with Earl Tupper, and he forced her out of the company in 1958. Still, she left an indelible mark and inspired generations of businesswomen.
If, by the end of your journey through the museum, you’d like to find some functional containers of your own, swing by the Tupperware Gallery, connected to the museum. And if you’re feeling brave, the museum allegedly harbors a Tupperware casket, but you’ll have to request to see it, as they tend to keep a tight lid on it.
The museum is free and open to the public, Monday to Friday, from 10 am to 4 pm. They close at noon on Fridays during the summer, but the statue of Tuppy is behind the headquarters building and can be viewed anytime.