Why a Museum?
Well, that is a very good question! Let me tell you a little story, which will give you an idea as to why...
The collection began about 30 years ago when we did not have a pepper mill at home, that worked. So off we went on a quest to find the right one. At first we found one or two, then three or four, until it became an entertainment. Soon we found the world of shakers, where the shapes, themes and colors are endless (as you will see).
Now you might be asking who is this "we". Well, "we" consists of my husband Rolf, my daughter Andrea and my son Alex. My name is Andrea and I am an archaeologist who fell in love with the history found behind salt & pepper shakers.
In the late 1990's, my son gave me a digital camera for Christmas. Soon I began to take pictures of the salt & pepper shakers I had around the house and the many boxes underneath the house. I would take measurements and careful notes on each pair as part of cataloguing the collection. Once the last box was opened, my husband said, "Enough is enough. I won't carry one more box, you have to do something with them!"
So the seed was planted. What could we do with them?
By 2001 we had moved from Central Texas to the Smoky Mountains to open the only Museum of it's kind in the world! Presently we have over 20,000 pairs of shakers!
One of the main purposes of the museum is to show the changes in a society that can be found represented in shakers. As you walk through the museum you can see the changes from ancient times to the 1500's, 1800's, 1920's, 40's, 60's all the way to present time.
Another purpose of the museum is to show the variety and the creativity that can be found in salt and pepper shakers. Who where the people and the artist creative enough to come up with all these amazing different shapes?
The third purpose of the museum is to bring people together. We are all connected to salt & pepper shaker collectors, a grandparent (or other family members), a friend, a co-worker, or a neighbor. And everyone has a memory about a salt & pepper shaker, either from their childhood or later in life.
As you explore the collection you will see the salt & pepper shakers displayed by themes and colors. I have also created little stories (within the displays), which I have found that, those young of heart are able to see and enjoy. Each theme is separated by pepper mills, my husband's passion in this world of condiment tools. We currently have over 1500 pepper mills from all over the world. Rolf finds the mechanisms fascinating, from simple to complex.
After 30 years of collecting we are happy to share with fellow collectors and visitors the amazing world of Salt & Pepper Shakers! As I always like to say "Keep collecting!"
The story however keeps going. As of May 21st, 2010 we now have a second Museum open in Europe. It's located in El Castell de Guadalest outside of Benidorm, south of Valencia in the Province of Alicante Spain. The museum there has 20,000 shakers most of which are not in the USA museum. It only shows that no one could ever collect them all... the creativity is never ending!