10 Weirdest Museums You Really Should Visit

Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum
Some of the charming salt-and-pepper shakers on display at the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum. Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum

Salt and pepper shakers are often easy to overlook on the dining table. But not at the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum in Gatlinburg, Tenn.

The museum's exhibition includes 20,000 pairs of shakers and was founded in 2001 by Rolf and Andrea Ludden, a husband-and-wife team comprising a jewelry designer and archaeologist, respectively. Their massive collection began when friends saw a few sets they'd purchased set on a windowsill. They mistakenly believed the couple was collecting salt and pepper shakers and began showing up with scores of seasoning sets. Before long, the Luddens began actively adding to their collection, too.

The Luddens' largest set is 30 inches (76 centimeters) tall, carved of wood, both items topped with the likeness of a pineapple. The smallest set is made of silver, with the capacity to hold only a smidgen of salt or pepper. Some of the sets are cast of pewter, while others are ceramic, painted with 14-karat gold. Perhaps the collection's most valuable pair is made of Depression-era glass, thought to be worth thousands. There are shakers shaped like toilets, skulls, alligators, feet, dachshunds, flamingoes and several with moving parts, including a lawnmower and kitchen mixer [source: Henderson].

To make additional room for the ever-growing collection, and with an eye toward a retirement nearer their European roots, the Luddens opened a second Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum in Guadalest, Spain in 2010 [source: The Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum].