Hammer Museum

108 Main Street
Haines, AK 99827

907-766-2374

About Us :

The hammer was man's first tool, and the Hammmer Museum is the first museum dedicated to the hammer. The Hammer Museum provides a unique view of the past through the use of the hammer. From ancient times, through colonial days and the industrial age, the hammer tells the story of man's progress and ingenuity.

The Hammer Museum opened in 2001. It's founder, Dave Pahl, has been collecting hammers for many years. A pioneer dream and a desire to live as self-sufficiently as possible took Dave to Alaska in 1973. Dave married Carol, and they homesteaded near Haines, Alaska, living without the luxury of electricity or running water for many years. Their lifestyle had Dave collecting and using many different hand tools.

Restoring old tools became a hobby. On a rare trip "Outside", the lower forty-eight states, Dave's hobby became more of an obsession, and he decided to specialize in hammers. He became so intrigued with the history of the hammers, he decided to open a museum and to research and preserve the history of this ancient tool. The museum became a non-profit organization in 2004.

In 2000, the Pahls purchased a building on Main street in Haines, Alaska,to house the future museum. The building needed a little TLC. The Pahls decided to dig a basement and to put in a foundation for the museum building to rest on. This was done with hand shovels, removing the dirt with a wheel-barrow and snow sled.

During the excavation process, Dave unearthed an artifact that turned out to be a Tlingit Warriors pick, or Slave-Killer. The Tlingits are Indians who occupied the area for thousands of years. The Warriors Pick is a ceremonial hammer used to strike fear into the enemy. It was also used in the sacrificing of slaves. Dave took the discovery of this stone hammeras an omen that he was on the right track in giving man's first tool its own museum.

During a trip to Washington D.C. in 2002, the Pahl's had the privilege of viewing the archived hammers at the Smithsonian Museum of American History. Dave noticed several life-sized mannequins designed to hold hammers in an action pose. The curator offered them to for use in the Hammer Museum, since they were no longer needed. They are a great addition to the Hammer Museum.

This quaint and quirky museum is an interesting and informative stop for the whole family. There are over 1500 hammers on display. You will see everything from a 200 A.D. Roman battle hammer to a hammer used for applause at the Cotton Club, in New York City. The museum is located at 108 Main Street in Haines and is must see for summer visitors to Haines. The Hammer Museum is open May through September, Monday- Friday, 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. Admission is $3.00, kids 12 and under are free. The Hammer Museum became a non-profit museum so it could expand it's role in the preservation and history of this ancient tool. The collection is constantly being updated through acquisitions and donations from supporters. Donations, whether monetary or hammers, are deeply appreciated. They are also tax deductible. You can also support the museum by purchasing a "T" shirt.

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