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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hip Hip Hooray It’s National Chocolate Ice Cream Day

President Eisenhower, Courtesy of the NMAH
Did you know that today was National Chocolate Ice Cream Day?  Well when I found out, I knew what my blog post would be this week. Determined to pay homage to the delicious treat, I first went and bought some ice cream and secondly did a little research to figure out a way to work it into Smithsonian history. What I found is that the Smithsonian had its very own Ice Cream Parlor. So to celebrate this wonderful day, grab a cone and read this short little history about that lovely little place.

Kim Dempsey Serves Up a Treat
Courtesy SIA

In April 1981, Marriott Corp. contributed $600,000 to help the National Museum of American History remove an escalator and build a fully functioning, turn-of-the-century Ice Cream Parlor and a corresponding exhibit. The exhibit explored the history of ice cream making in the United States. The parlor opened in the summer of 1981 and inside visitors and staff were immersed in an ice cream lover’s dream complete with mosaic floor, marble table-tops, and a cool marble counter.

Soda Jerk Dean Robinson
Courtesy SIA

Behind the counter soda jerks served up sundaes, sodas, floats, phosphates and drapes to the delight of the customers.  The delectable deserts were made with Haagen-Dazs ice cream.  The parlor stuck to sundaes, so no plain scoops, but also provided a lunch menu for people looking for something a little more savory. After more than twenty years of business, the parlor was closed in 2006 when the museum underwent renovations and was not a part of the redesign plans.

However, that does not mean that you can’t go out and grab a delicious bowl of chocolate ice cream to enjoy on this hot day. If you are not a fan of chocolate, go out and enjoy whatever flavor you like, it is just a good excuse to eat some ice cream!

Click here for more SIA Ice Cream related collections.


  1. I'm so bummed we don't have a parlor anymore! Thanks for sharing and inspiring. ***off to get ice cream...

  2. Thanks Rachel and enoy the ice is the perfect day for it!