Thursday, June 19, 2014

Haines, Alaska: Hammer Museum

Dave Pahl had a problem, or at least wife Carol thought so. Dave liked hammers. A lot. He had bunches and bunches of them. What to do with them all?

The answer was a bit surprising. Dave didn't cut down on his collection, or move out of the house. He opened a museum. What's more, Carol eventually thought this was a splendid idea.

That's the genesis for the Hammer Museum in Haines. It was the first such place in the world. Apparently there is another one in Lithuania, but it must rank as a cheap copy of the original in Alaska.

Dave has so many hammers that he can't display them all in the building. At last count according to the town information guide, only 1,500 of 8,700 are being showed at a given moment. Still that's a lot of hammers. They are grouped according to type. Some are even downright silly.

By the way, the staff (there are a couple of summer interns in addition to the Pahl family) will be happy to listen to your jokes about going to a museum and getting hammered. But you have to put a buck in the pot for charity before they'll laugh.

It's tough to know what picture to use with this description. Is it a shot of a wall filled with hammers? A carving of "The Little Man with a Hammer," a 1930s business mascot? A picture of silly hammers, including one two handles?

In the end, I went with the shot of the outside of the building. The claw hammer is 20 feet tall, and it is slightly down the hill from the main intersection in Haines.

This all could be really, really odd except for the fact that everyone involved is having fun with the concept. It's worth a stop if you are in the neighborhood.

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