If variety is truly the spice of life, then the Ludden family live very well seasoned lives. They are the founders and proprietors of the only known “Salt and Pepper Shaker Museums” in the world.
One of the family’s museums is located in Gatlinburg, TN and the other is situated in Guadalest, Spain.
For the purposes of this article only the Gatlinburg museum will be discussed.
Brief History of Salt and Pepper Shakers
Prior to the 19th century most households did not use salt and pepper shakers. Instead the salt and pepper where primarily put in mills or as in the case of salt, in bowls with an accompanying chipping tool.
This changed with the advent of both free-flowing salt and the abundance of relatively inexpensive shaker materials like ceramics and plastic.
Soon businesses like circa 1950’s gas stations were handing out salt and pepper shakers as advertising giveaways.
There was an influx of various shapes, sizes and themes of salt and pepper shakers that seemed to match the proliferation of inexpensive shaker materials.
The Tennessee museum features over 20,000 salt and pepper shakers as well as over 1,500 different peppermills garnered from around the world.
Floor to ceiling shelves line virtually every wall of the museum. Each shelf, replete with an epic variety of salt and pepper shakers, provides a feast for the eyes.
The shakers are organized by theme and range from the commemorative, such as one modeled after “Mount Vesuvius”, to the sublime religious shakers and the more comical like the one’s modeled after toilets.
In addition to the museum there is a wonderful gift shop that sells the coolest salt and pepper shaker ear rings, among other things. The ear rings actually have salt and pepper in them! They currently sell for $23.00 plus tax and come in either a heart or cylindrical shape.
Which Shaker is which?
Some people visiting the “Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum” and looking at the shakers made of non-transparent materials can’t help but ponder the age old question “Which shaker is for the salt and which is for the pepper?”
The answer actually depends on where you currently hang your hat. European’s place the salt in the shaker with the most holes on top whereas the American’s place the salt in the shaker with the least amount of holes.
Hours of Operation and Admission
The “Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum” is open year round Monday through Sunday from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm. As of 2010 admission is $3.00 per person over the age of 12. Children under age 12 are admitted into the museum for free.
The nice thing about the $3.00 admission is that it can be applied towards a purchase in the on-site gift shop.
Salt and Pepper Museum
461 Brookside Village
Gatlinburg, TN 37738
If after touring the “Salt and Pepper Museum” one is inspired to start collecting salt and pepper shakers a good website to check out is the “Salt and Pepper Club.”
The “Salt and Pepper Club” site is very informative as well as puts one in contact with other like minded collectors from around the world.