Holland Museum exhibit highlights Heinz pickles

HJ Heinz hired women to sort pickles and had prisoners of war working at the plant during World War II. Courtesy Holland Museum

The Holland Museum is displaying an exhibit highlighting one of the region’s oldest factories still in operation.

“Heinz in Holland: A Story with Heart” highlights the Heinz plant that opened in 1897. It is on display from March 13-Aug. 16.

Founder HJ Heinz’s motto was, “Heart power is stronger than horsepower.” His legacy was putting people before profits, the museum said.

Heinz hired women early in the plant’s history to sort pickles and had prisoners of war working at the plant during World War II. During World War I, the company offered life insurance for employees who fought abroad, and the company has a history of hiring immigrants.

Holland was selected as the site for the Heinz pickle production plant because the people of Holland were persuasive, and the local farmers were able to commit acreage of land for growing cucumbers, the museum said.

Heinz encouraged people to attend his booth at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago by offering a free souvenir, a small pickle pin, which is included in the display.

Tucked away on the second floor of the agriculture pavilion, the Heinz pickle pin was so popular, the police had to assist with crowd control, and the second floor had to be reinforced to accommodate the weight, the museum said. While the design has changed throughout the years, Heinz still uses the pickle pins for marketing.

Also included in the exhibition will be a pickle barrel, staff photos, pickle jars and more.

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