The new Pizza Hut museum officially opens Monday on Wichita State University’s Innovation Campus.
The museum is housed inside the original Pizza Hut building. Until last fall, the building sat vacant for years on the WSU campus – somewhere Pizza Hut co-founder Dan Carney was certain it would remain, unused.
When he first heard a museum would be established there, “I thought, ‘There’s no way,’” Carney said Wednesday during a preview event. “’This is 500 square [feet]. What are you gonna put in there?’”
The museum features a collection of Pizza Hut artifacts -- server outfits, promotional items, the sheet music to "Putt Putt to the Pizza Hut" -- much of it donated by Carney himself. He and his brother, Frank, started the business in Wichita in 1958 with a $600 loan from their mother, when they were both students at what was then the University of Wichita. The franchise now includes more than 16,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries.
Carney says the museum, however small, tells the story of Pizza Hut well.
“I think it tells the story of family, and friends, and the franchise, and the initial development of it,” he says.
The building, moved from its original location at Kellogg and Bluff to WSU in the 1980s, was transported to the Innovation Campus last September. Carney says he hopes the museum stands as an inspiration for young entrepreneurs and students.
“I hope the visitors will just walk away with the idea that you can have an idea and develop an idea and make it really good, and make it international,” he says. “I mean, that’s possible.”
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