Tag Archives: tenn

You Have HOW Many Salt & Pepper Shakers?

13 Mar

Just 20,000 or so sets. Is that unusual?

Vegetable Salt & Pepper Shakers

Vegetable Salt & Pepper Shakers Photo Courtesy of the Museum Website

The Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum in Gatlinburg, TN is must-see. Why, exactly?

  1. Because everything else in Gatlinburg in woefully touristy, neon-y, and kitschy.
  2. Because you had no idea that salt and pepper shakers were made in so many styles.
  3. Because there are walls dedicated to themes: fruits, bears, birds, & basic pillars.
  4. Because when someone takes the time to collect 20,000 of something, you should stop in and take a gander. I mean, seriously.
Southern Belle Salt & Pepper Shakers

Southern Belle Salt & Pepper Shakers Photo Courtesy of the Museum Website

One of a Kind
This is the only S&P museum in the world (no surprise, there).

The woman who owns the collection started it because she was amused by how something so simple garners so much attention and personality. Good point.

Many sets were collected by the owner, but once word got out, even more were given as gifts and sent from people around the world. The kindness of strangers: Red Cross aid and Salt & Pepper contributions…

Bee Salt & Pepper Shakers

Bee Salt & Pepper Shakers Photo Courtesy of the Museum Website

Musings on Collecting
A collection says something about the collector; and the culture that inspires it.

Interested in other quirky collections I’ve found on my travels? Check out

What do you collect? Where do you find your pieces? What started the collection?


Now Wait Just One Cotton Pickin Minute

7 Sep

Cotton tshirtsWhile driving through the Mississippi Delta I discovered that cotton fields are worth pulling over to the side of the road. And getting your feet so stuck in the mud that you truly can’t move your feet. I mean, they weren’t going ANYWHERE. Finally after a great slurping sound there was freedom. And then stuck again. Sigh.

Back to cotton—it’s even so inspiring that you opt to leave Mississippi (can you believe it?) and drive over the state line to Memphis to go to the Cotton Museum, which is fascinating.

Cotton is first a flower, then the boll, then ball. The cycle of life takes 14 weeks. Seeds: large. Cotton: stringy and coarse. The boll holds it like a bloom in a nutshell.

A bale is 500 pounds; it also translates to 681,000 cotton balls or 215 pairs of jeans. The book The Jungle wrote about how everything was used of the pig but the squeal. The same holds true for cotton: medicine, oil, cleanser, oh, and fabrics.

Cotton and the Blues go together because of sharecropping and its undelivered promise of independence. It also bred the middle class: mechanizing farm machinery created an even bigger gap between plantation owner and laborer.

Which crop has inspired you to pull over to get a closer look?

Can’t see the slideshow? Click here.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Cotton, posted with vodpod