Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum: Exploring the Fascinating World of Nutcrackers

lifesize nutcracker The Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum is easily overlooked. However, it should not be missed as it is surprisingly informative and well worth the small cost of admission.

If your idea of a nutcracker is the red-coated solider-nutcracker from the Nutcracker Suite ballet, then you have only touched the surface of the world of nutcrackers. To be honest that's the first image that came to mind for me until I visited this absolutely nutty nutcracker museum.

Opened in 1995, you might be surprised to learn that the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum actually has a Mission Statement. According to this Mission Statement the purpose of the museum is more than just being a repository of a collection of nutcracking tools. Instead they hope to educate visitors on "the importance of nuts" and the "evolution of the nutcracker."

Nuts About Nuts

At the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum you will learn more than you ever thought possible about the lowly nut in all its many varieties. You'll learn how and where archeologists have discovered evidence of the earliest use of nuts and nutcracking tools, how nuts were important in international trade, and the many surprising ways early people incorporated nuts into their diet.

Speaking of diet, the museum is serious about convincing everybody of the necessity of eating more nuts. You'll learn the nutritional value of a variety of nuts, about studies that prove just how important nuts are to maintaining your health, and how beneficial they can be to those trying to lose weight.

Nuts About Nutcrackers

Santa Nutcrackers at the Leavenworth Museum

As you move through the nutcracker displays in the museum, you will be fascinated by the wide variety of styles and materials that have be used throughout history to make devices solely for the purpose of extracting the delicious morsels from the hard shelled nuts.

  • Stone: You'll see one of the very first nutcracking tools used by early man, and as you might expect, it's a couple of pitted rocks.
  • Metal: The museum also boasts a bronze nutcracker from ancient Rome that was literally buried for over 1800 years. The collection of metal nutcrackers includes brass nutcrackers from England and old iron nutcrackers from the early days of America.
  • Wood: Some of the most beautiful nutcrackers you'll see are those lever nutcrackers carved out of wood. You'll be fascinated by the intricate workmanship of these nutcrackers created by 15th to 19th century woodcarvers.
  • Screw-type: After centuries of lever-operated nutcracking tools, some genius figured out how to use a screw-type mechanism to crack nuts. The museum has an impressive collection of both simple wood designs of the earliest versions of this style, as well as the intricate metal devices that soon followed.
  • indian and pioneer nutcrackers in leavenworthFinally, the museum has a great collection of those colorfully painted nutcrackers that look like people; from a Native American in full feathered headdress to a tall-standing soldier made popular by the Nutcracker Ballet so popular during the holidays each year. Without a doubt you will be amazed at the many ways people have come up with over the centuries to crack nuts.

    To learn more about the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum, the hours of operation and the very reasonable admission, visit their website here: http://www.nutcrackermuseum.com.

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