I just found the perfect place on earth. You wonder what it is – I’ll tell you. As a historian, I love museums and all kind of cultural stuff. Moreover, as an absolute can lover I enjoy all sorts of drinks out of cans, so what could be better than a Can museum? And guess what, there are more of them than you can probably imagine!
USA: Ye Ol’ Watering Hole Can Museum
In Northampton Massachusetts, there is a bar called the Ye Ol’ Watering Hole, which has a collection of over 4, 000 beer cans. The legend says that in 1942 five guys, who had to go to war came to the bar for the last night together. Before they left, each of them placed a full can of beer on the wall so they could toast after the war. Today, the whole bar is full of cans from all over the world and many guests have donated cans to carry on the collection.
On the other side of Massachusetts, you can find the Beer Can Museum in East Taunton, which has a collection of over 5, 000 different beer cans. Furthermore, you can spot folk art and crafts made out of beer cans like a can telephone or a can radio. They have also a big library with lots of can and breweriana related books. Heaven on earth! Kevin Logan, who is still the director and curator of this place, who is often called “the man with the cans”, started the museum itself in 1978. Every summer he organizes a big festival with BBQ, museum tours, and many cans, of course. Therefore, when you’re in Boston be sure to take the few miles down to Taunton and visit this can-paradise.
Museum of Brands, Packaging, and Advertising
Next Stop – London! Here you can find the Museum of Brands, Packaging, and Advertising. Just some steps from the famous Portobello Road Market is a treasure full of historical stuff including many interesting cans. For example, they have nearly every Heinz can ever made, I guess – or at least I never saw so many Heinz cans in my entire life. In addition, there are all these cool retro posters from the past. [Link] So it’s truly a genuine place for can history!
New Zealand: Beer Can Museum
When writing this article, a friend of mine came up with the New Zealand Beer Can Museum in Galatea. He went there during his work and travel some years ago. They have over 12,000 beer cans from 150 countries all over the world and over 10, 000 other beer related items. The highlight of the collection is one of the first beer cans ever made – a Krueger beer can from 1935, today worth around $ 6,000!
Off to the German South: German Packaging Museum in Heidelberg
Last but not least, a home player for me – the German Packaging Museum in Heidelberg. Since 1997, it is the one and only place in Germany to find packaging items from the past 100 years. They focus on the cultural aspect, so it is all about the design reflecting the society and its transformation over time. The list of the contributors and investors of the museum is like a “who-is-who” of the packaging industry. So the collection is always updated and they often hold conferences and meetings with experts and can lovers. Therefore it is not only a showcase but furthermore a network of packaging brands.
I hope you are inspired for your next travel plans and include some of the museums! Do you know any other cool must-visits for can lovers? Let me know in the comments.