There’s Always Room for an ICFF Side Trip to the Museum of Jell-O

jello old logo.gifWe predict that fruit-hued translucency will be all the rage at ICFF (to wit: the Life Saver-like Hoffi UFO stools that dkVogue will scatter about Saturday’s Beaux Arts Ball, sponsored by the Architectural League of New York), and so we recommend a post-ICFF trip to a place where bendy brights never go out of style: the Jell-O Gallery in the western New York town of Le Roy, the onetime site of General Foods’ Jell-O factory. Open everyday through December 31st, the Jell-O Gallery welcomes you to its website with, “If you haven’t been to LeRoy recently, please do so!” and from there details what you can expect to see:

The Jell-O Gallery has a large new exhibit that reflects Bill Cosby‘s influence over 30 years. Also, listen to entertainers Kate Smith, Jack Benny, Lucile [sic] Ball as they promoted the Jell-O product over the radio air waves. See television personalities Andy Griffith and Gomer Pyle along with Bill Cosby as they pitch your favorite dessert, Jell-O.

We admit that we had never heard of the lead-off entertainer, Kate Smith, but apparently she was a singer whose career reached “its most-remembered zenith in the 1940s,” Wikipedia reports. “Her oversized figure made her an occasional object of derision from fellow performers and managers.” Other intriguing historical figures you’ll learn about at the museum include Pearle Wait, the carpenter who created Jell-O in 1897 whilst whipping up a cough remedy and laxative tea at his home in Le Roy.

Ken Belson recently visited the museum and wrote about it for The New York Times. What was it like?

…The experience begins when visitors step off East Main Street onto the Jell-O Brick Road, a pathway where each stone is inscribed with the name of a former employee of the factory or a town notable. On the second floor of the historic schoolhouse, the Jell-O Gallery contains a showcase of a preserved sturgeon bladder and a calf’s hoof, two of the less-appealing ingredients in gelatin. Around the corner is an impressive collection of molds, some made of tin and plastic, others that imprinted Jell-O with the logos of Canadian hockey teams.

And judging from the website, there is also quite a gift shop. Among the inventory are Jell-O-emblazoned molds, thimbles, Christmas tree ornaments, and, um, boxer shorts, although we’re not sure what to make of this online description of them: “A great gift for the man in your life, or wear them as shorts (they don’t have a fly). They do tend to run a bit small, so you may want to purchase the next size up.”