Roadtrippin’ 2023: A Visit to the Haines Hammer Museum

The humble household tool we call the hammer is honored at a museum in Haines.
Published: May. 26, 2023 at 4:38 PM AKDT
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HAINES, Alaska (KTUU) - The community of Haines in Southeast Alaska has many notable landmarks but there’s one you might not expect. It’s a 20-foot hammer meant to welcome visitors to the world’s first hammer museum.

The museum is jam-packed with hammers. They line the walls and spread out on the ceiling. There are large hammers and tiny hammers, even a hammer from ancient Egypt that the museum claims is 5,000 years old.

Docent Brandon Wilks, who knows a lot about hammers, said although the museum has hammers from every continent. The original collection came from a man named Dave Pahl who lived off the grid in Haines.

Pahl was using and collecting the humble tools, but eventually got so many they were taking over his cabin. According to Wilks, Pahl’s wife eventually asked him to “do something” with his hammers, so he started the nonprofit museum in 2002.

Today, thousands of people visit the Hammer Museum every year from all over the world. Many come from the cruise ships which dock in Haines during the summer. Wilks said he’s glad to share what he knows about the important role hammers have played in history, and he’s glad the tools have a home of their own.