Hammer Museum (Haines, AK)
For the Armand Hammer Museum, see Hammer Museum
The Hammer Museum, located in Haines, Alaska, U.S., is the only museum in the world dedicated to hammers. It features over 1,700 hammers and related tools, ranging from an ancient Roman battle axe to modern novelty hammers.
The museum was opened in 2001 by Dave Pahl, a collector and restorer of hand tools.
The museum's founder, Dave Pahl, moved to Alaska from Cleveland, Ohio with the goal of becoming self-sufficient. He became a blacksmith and began informally collecting hand tools. His collection grew over the years through purchases, gifts, and "hammer hunting" expeditions. In 2001, Pahl and his wife Carol purchased a hundred-year-old building in Haines and converted it into the museum.
The Hammer Museum is devoted to the history of the hammer and humanity’s many uses of the implement throughout the ages. With many of the professions and uses for the hammer dying out, the Pahls believe that someone needs to preserve the legacy and history of the tool and the ingenuity and hard work that has been put into developing and using the hammer in all its incarnations.
Contained in the building are numerous and rare curiosities of this wide and diverse tool family. The Hammer Museum’s collection illuminates the fact that hammers were not used just by rugged coal miners and railroad workers. The hammer also served bankers, nightclub goers of the 1920s and 1930s, barristers, cobblers, and musicians, as well as those in the medical profession such as doctors and dentists. Also the museum elucidates that the hammer has been conscripted into military service since time immemorial via a pair of Roman battle hammers and several Chinese war hammers as well as a local artifact. While digging out a basement for the museum in 2002, Dave uncovered a ceremonial Tlingit warrior’s pick. Another interesting addition to the museum in 2002 came in the form of manikins from the Smithsonian. While the Pahl family was on vacation in Washington D.C. they were given backstage tour of the American History Museum and were able to help the staff identify several hammers. In return Dave received five manikins that had been sitting in storage since the early 1970s. They are now fixtures in the Hammer Museum.