“Can someone pass the salt?” someone interjects into the conversation as everyone convenes around the dining table under the soft overhead lighting in the comfortable familiarity of family dinnertime. As the shaker passes from hand to hand, the classic glass and metal, your mother’s favorite glass rooster shaker, or your father’s odd golf-ball-and-club shaker set, the minute details go unnoticed. These pieces will pass through generations from kitchen to kitchen as family heirlooms, and yet salt and pepper shakers, handmade and unique, are hardly considered as important pieces of time.
Similar to art characteristic to its region and era of conception, hand-painted salt and pepper shakers were touched by thoughtful hands and passed around during meaningful family time, meal after meal and night after night. Thanks to Belgium native and trained archeologist Andrea Ludden and her husband, Rolf, there exists an art exhibit in Gatlinburg, Tennessee totally dedicated to this overlooked piece of history!
Building a Unique Collection
As her collection kept growing, Andrea and her family moved from Cosby, Tennessee, to Gatlinburg to a building able to facilitate her collection of 16,000 salt and pepper shakers. Since moving to the Gatlinburg building, the exhibit has grown to 20,000 pieces of the widest range of shakers you will ever witness. It’s America’s only museum of its kind, making it one of the most unique Gatlinburg attractions you’ll find!
As family and friends of Mrs. Ludden tried to add to her collection, she has many duplicates of salt and pepper shakers she offers for sale in the gift shop. Tell the story of the thousands of chickens, vegetables, feet, music icons, and historical figures modeled into shakers when guests compliment your unique seasoning set!
Visiting the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum
For only $3 (kids 12 and under are free), the family can gaze, comment, and laugh at the crazy items that have been turned into a salt and pepper shakers – including toilets and the Beatles! Peruse the glass cases used to keep dust and other aging agents from Andrea’s archeological finds as the kids try to pick out favorites among the animal shaker shelves.
You are sure to find pieces reminiscent of your grandmother’s house and growing up around the family dinner table. The historical context adapted to so many of the shakers is comically entertaining: the Apollo XI moon landing, President JFK in a rocking chair, and Mt. St. Helens and her missing erupted summit are only a few to be discovered!
This Gatlinburg attraction is a true tale of big value found in the smallest places. Talk to the Luddens who operate the museum and who are eager to share their stories of passion and discoveries of sentimental prizes once overlooked. Take a well-worth detour during your day in Gatlinburg or make an interesting addition to your cabin trip itinerary to the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum for a very affordable, entertaining time before heading over to Flapjack’s Pancake House or the Ripley’s Aquarium!
Before you head out, pick out a set to take back for a meal in your Gatlinburg cabin or as a gift for someone back home. Your $3 admission price goes towards your purchase! Leave the Salt and Pepper Museum and wander through downtown to come upon tons of other museums, exhibits, and Gatlinburg attractions to explore. Here are a few more unique Gatlinburg attractions worth visiting during your trip to the Smokies:
Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium
Glide your hand over the smooth granite sphere weighing over 10,000 pounds as it floats on 1/254th of an inch of water! This is only the first of over 500 exhibits housed inside of the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium in Gatlinburg, Tennessee! Tour through three floors and 12,500 square feet of interesting, historical, and scary artifacts and galleries. Ripley’s Odditorium has welcomed millions of curious guests since re-opening its doors in 1995 following the fires of 1992 that destroyed the original museum. Year after year, Ripley’s refines its collections with updated information and new artifacts in the spirit of discovery and sharing knowledge.
This is one of those Gatlinburg attractions the whole family will be excited to see, with fun, interactive learning for the kids and the creepy, unique exhibits for teens and adults! See if anyone in the family can walk straight over the bridge through the spinning, narrowing room and come in close contact with estranged shrunken heads and archaic torture devices. We don’t want to give too much away, so go and discover all the surprises and one-of-a-kind pieces of human history for yourself!
Hollywood Star Cars Museum
See the car that thrusted Marty McFly and the eccentric Doc Emmett Brown back in time at 88 mph with the help of the flux capacitor, the DeLorean! Or see what it feels like to be behind the wheel of all of the really awesome, souped-up cars of the Fast and Furious franchise movies! Bring car and movie enthusiasts of your family to get up-close encounters with all the staple cars and trucks of Hollywood movies from the past century in the Hollywood Star Cars Museum.
From the Daytona Spyder driven by Detective Sonny Crockett in Miami Vice to the transforming 1977 yellow Chevy Camaro, Bumblebee, from Transformers, Star Cars has vehicles that every age will recognize! Share your love of cars or movies with family members of all generations as you tour through this impressive gallery of automobile and cinematic history!
Gatlinburg Space Needle
Open 365 days a year, take the glass elevators to panoramic views of Gatlinburg and the surrounding mountains from 407 feet in the air! The Gatlinburg Space Needle is an important part of the mountain city’s history; since its construction and opening to the public in 1970, it has become an iconic piece and one of the most recognizable and popular Gatlinburg attractions. Learn more about the colorful history of Gatlinburg in the Space Needle’s Higher Learning exhibit before heading to play in the 25,000-square-foot arcade and 2-story playground with the kids! With your $8.50 ticket, you can take the elevator to the top twice in 24 hours, making this iconic attraction well worth the visit.
The Captured Live Escape Experience
A bitter colonel of the Confederate Army, Simon Craft, has left a bizarre and twisted legacy in the Smoky Mountains on a piece of land deeded to his family following the Civil War. With no food and a tumultuous winter storm barricading the family to their home, the Crafts had to learn to survive, but their meals were the weaker members… You are invited to dinner in the Craft Cellar at the base of the Gatlinburg Space Needle, but you will be shocked to find you are the one on the evening’s menu! In 60 minutes, you and your fellow captured must use whit, courage, and skill to solve the puzzles using clues left behind by previous unfortunate souls.
Want even more of a challenge? Visit the bedroom that became the prison of a young girl deemed too dangerous for society, if you dare. Guests have another 60 minutes to escape the tortured room through a series of riddles and hints left behind by her previous prey. However innocent the little girl Scarlett may be, if you cannot find your way out along with the other captured, you all will become more toys to litter the inside of her creepy child sanctuary!