The Candy Wrapper Museum, where wrappers are to be enjoyed as art, nostalgia, and humor.

darlene lacey 21 collections

21 Collections: Every Object Has a Story is on exhibit at the Los Angeles Central Library from September 28, 2018 through January 27, 2019. The diverse exhibit examines the cultural and historical importance of collecting and how these collections tell stories of both the collectors and the collections. Darlene Lacey and her candy wrapper collection was chosen out of 600 potential collectors to be a part of this unique show.


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I began collecting wrappers in 1977 with an eye toward the unusual, ironic, and aesthetic, although I also collected "classic" but more mundane wrappers for posterity's sake. I haven't yet counted all the wrappers in my collection, but it's HUGE. It's stored in a stack of boxes nearly 4 feet high and about 1.5 feet x 2 feet wide. (Physics majors - you tell me how many that probably is!)

As frightening as it may seem, I've eaten most of the candy in my collection, and yet I'm not (yet) overweight. I'm sure I owe this to countless intense walks and aerobics sessions. And no, I'm not a diabetic. Perhaps this can be attributed to good genes, although knowing my family, this theory is doubtful. Maybe it will catch up with me and I'll decompose all at once, like aged candy. (See below.)

One thing I learned the hard way is that no matter how chemically inert or unresembling food a candy product might be, it will eventually become molecularly unstable and turn into a hideous, sticky goo. For this reason, you'll see precious little candy in this museum. However, amazingly enough, the candy I kept actually held up for twenty years before I had to throw most of it out. Based on this experience, I'd say 25 years is the point when you've kept the candy too long.

Due to the immensity of this project and my desire to make nice images of the collection, this site will be slowly assembled for an unspecified period of time. So if you stumble across this site during its formative years, please make a bookmark and visit again sometime. Special thanks to Joe Lacey, who created the art for this site and provided other innumerable invaluable services, as well as the many donors to the museum and the others who helped create it:

I also write the column, SWEET TALK, for The LA Beat.
Check it out for the latest posts of new wrappers and
wrappers not found on this site!

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Check out the CWM interview at Ephemera, a blog that explores the world of old paper.

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