A Most-Happy Surprise: Coffee Exhibit Delights Future Groom

15, October 2015
Close-up view of the coffee mosaic.The coffee bean mosaic before it was finished.

A few weeks before the premiere of Coffee: The World in Your Cup & St. Louis in Your Cup, a visitor asked me a question about offerings in the Museum Shop. She was planning her son’s wedding rehearsal dinner at Bixby’s (the Museum’s restaurant), and because he is so fond of coffee she had chosen to use it as a theme. Boy, was she shocked to learn about the Coffee exhibit right here in the Museum! We chatted about her ideas for table favors and decorations, and I said to her, “Before you go to the gift shop, I’d like to show you something.”

We walked to the back of the World’s Fair gallery, and immediately the rich aroma of coffee beans wafted our way. When I opened the door, she gasped! Spread before her were five 4x8' sheets of plywood on tables, with thousands of coffee beans artfully glued on them to depict the skyline of the city. Kaldi's Coffee, which supplied some of the beans for the project, had achieved six different colors by roasting the beans for different amounts of time—the longer the roast, the darker the bean. Susan Riggs, one of about 40 dedicated volunteers and staff members who assisted with the coffee bean mosaic, was in the process of gluing beans in a well-defined area. “It’s like color by numbers!” she laughed. Susan told the visitor about an upcoming television interview with project lead Katie Moon. “I can add that as a link on the invitations!” the woman exclaimed. As Susan returned to her work, our mom-of-the-groom looked at each panel. "May I take a picture of this?" She couldn’t have been happier!

I couldn’t wait to tell Katie and the Guest Services team how excited our visitor was when she left. Both mom and son received a personal invitation to attend the Coffee premiere for members. Vicki Kaffenberger, Volunteer and Interns Coordinator, and I greeted them that evening. It had been a real team effort, but we all showed the MHM enthusiasm for what we do best—helping our visitors connect with our exhibits.

—Sandy Schneider, Museum volunteer