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Each week on the Junior Curators blog, we travel back in time to a different place in Tennessee history. Stories may be about a famous person, place or event from Tennessee’s past. They will include things like priceless artifacts, pictures, videos, and even some games. Be sure to better understand the story by answering the questions at the end of each post.
After learning the story, be sure to share what you've learned with your parents, family, or friends. Try making your own exhibit about it, shooting a movie, or writing a story about it. Let your creativity run wild!
by Emilee Dehmer
East TN: Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum, Gatlinburg
There are so many cool and exciting places in Tennessee. So many, that you might not know about them all. That’s what Go See Tennessee is all about. We’re here to tell you about places we think are neat and that you might want to visit too. It might be helpful to make a “Go and See” List, and whenever you read about a place that sounds cool, write it down, to help you remember it for the future. Ready for this week’s place? Let’s go!
Salt and Pepper. Chances are you have these two spices in your kitchen because they are probably in most of the foods you eat. You might even have special containers just to put your salt and pepper in. These containers are called salt and pepper shakers. You might have a few shakers around your house or your grandparents might have a few different kinds too. But what if you had over 20,000 sets of salt and pepper shakers?
This is what you might recognize as a normal salt or pepper shaker, Tennessee State Museum Collection.
That’s exactly what the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum has. The museum was started by the Ludden family back in 2004 when they found they were having trouble finding a place to put the 17,000 shakers they owned. They purchased a building in Gatlinburg and moved in. Since they first opened, their collection has grown to over 20,000 shakers- that’s a lot of salt!
These are also salt and pepper shakers! These are in the shape of “Big Boy” from the restaurant Shoney’s, Tennessee State Museum Collection.
There are salt and pepper shakers shaped like letters, monks, lawnmowers, chili peppers, chickens, wrestlers, cartoon characters, ice cream cones, cars, aliens, cowboys, the list goes on and on. If you can think of it, there is probably a salt and pepper shaker that looks like it. If you add this stop to your ‘go and see list,’ make a list of your top five favorite shakers you saw!
Image from the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum: These are all shakers shaped like vegetables!
How does someone even get a collection of 20,000 salt and pepper shakers? It all started by accident. Andrea Ludden was just looking for a good pepper grinder to use in her home, when she bought a few that did not work. Instead of throwing them away, she put them in a windowsill to display. When friends and neighbors saw them, they thought she was a collector and began giving her new ones as gifts, and the rest is history.
So make sure you shimmy and shake on down to the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum in downtown Gatlinburg to see the history and designs of thousands of salt and pepper shakers. Just tell your parents that you want to shake up your vacation with a trip to this museum.
To learn more, visit their website:
To see more, check out the video below:
Emilee Dehmer is an Educator at the Tennessee State Museum.