turns a normal person into an incurable chewing
gum collector? Terri Meier, Curator of the Chewing
Gum Chronicles Exhibit, has yet to answer that
question. Maybe it's her first pack of Clove gum or
that miniature fruit basket filled with intricate individual
blackberries disguised as gum. Meier recalls that col-
lecting gum became an act of perservation rather than
a desire to chew.
graduated from Iowa State University and
majored in Telecommunications. Little did she know
that her background in public relations, advertising,
and her enthusiasm for history would change the
future of chewing gum. "I'm not quite sure when I
decided to appoint myself as Curator and research,
design, build, and finance the Chewing Gum
Chronicles Exhibit. Some people like to golf, I found
pleasure unwrapping the history of chewing gum."
admits it became an enterprise starting with
her family. "Asking my father to travel 2,000 miles
to build a bright pink bubble gum juke box was
bordering on insanity." Together, they built six
other interactive displays. Her mom, sister, brother-
in-law, and niece scour the Midwest in search of the
perfect novelty gum for the exhibit. "It's amazing how
many people love gum. From authors and artists to Vegas casino
owners, everyone had a story to tell."
1996, Meier read that Joy Collier's Bubble Gum Collection
would be featured at the 11th Annual Bubble
Festival in Seattle. At last, a fellow collector. Meier tried
to contact Joy only to find out that she had tragically
died just prior to the festival. Meier's bubble was burst.
A month later Meier received a call from a friend of Joy
Collier. He questioned Meier about the project and her intensions.
Before the conversation was over he offered
to endow Joy's gum collection to the exhibit. Ironically,
Meier and Collier would never meet but their passion
for gum would be sealed forever. Collier's collection was
one of the first gum webpages on the Internet.
sighs, "No other project in my life has been so exhaustive
yet so rewarding. Now it's time to find out if the
public shares my abstract notion that chewing gum deserves
a righteous place in history." The Chewing Gum
Chronicles premiered at the 12th Annual Bubble Festival at
Seattle's Pacific Science Center with rave reviews.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporter, Susan Phinney, saluted
the exhibit as "a good mental chew."