Although sources may argue on the origins of National Cookie Day, two things are sugar-crystal clear: cookies are darn good, and the internet seems to agree that today is the day to celebrate them.
In the 1960s, David McMahon and his family could have celebrated properly with a batch of chocolate chip cookies safely stored in this Mercury Friendship 7 cookie jar.
It was in the full-size Friendship 7 capsule that John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth. The successful mission was a point of national pride and sparked the beginning of a space craze in the early 1960s.
David McMahon’s family was among many families caught up in the excitement. “Our family had ‘space fever,’" he recalled. Just a few days after Glenn’s orbital mission, the Friendship 7 cookie jar appeared in a display at McMahon’s local Woolworth Department store. And then, full of chocolate chip cookies in his home, a gift from his mother to his father.
The cookie jar remained in the family through the Shuttle era. “I used the jar to launch talks with my young daughters about space travel and our progression from a one-person capsule to a small habitat in space,” McMahon said. “Of course, munching on cookies during these discussions.”
McMahon donated the cookie jar to the Museum in 2009. To McMahon, the cookie jar underscores how important the early space missions were at the time, especially to children. He also thinks the name of the spacecraft is a good reminder of what we can achieve in future space “adventures” if we work together in the spirit of friendship.
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