Hammered in Alaska

Welcome to the Hammer Museum, we have about 2,000 hammers on display …

I have repeated this phrase a few hundred times since I arrived in Haines, Alaska three weeks ago. The Hammer Museum is everything it advertises, more hammers than you could ever believe. There is a 2 inch hammer and a 20 foot hammer. There are hammers from the land of the pharaohs to the land down under. There are hammers with dark pasts; used for human sacrifice and representative of the Nazi regime. On the lighter side, there are gag hammers, such as the ever-popular crooked hammer which we fondly call our “Politician’s hammer.” All these are only the tip of the iceberg (Alaskan reference intended).


The Hammer Museum is a small organization. It was only in the last two years that the seven member board hired their first paid staff member.  Although their paid internship program has been going on for over ten years. Due to the museum’s size my duties are wide and varied.

I spend part of my time at the front desk welcoming visitors and running the small museum store, during lulls I work on one of several projects waiting for me on my to-do lists.


So far I have been mainly working on revamping and revitalizing the museum’s website.  Since it was primarily created by interns over a variety of summers there are some inconsistencies and a lot of minor changes that could be made to make the site more suitable to the needs of the visitor. I am rewriting the content so that it is all said in one, unified voice. The content also includes images and museum material, such as the logo. I have been busy taking pictures and reworking to logo to fit the needs of the museum and the website.

I have also created a cheap light box (a photographers tool to take pictures in a soft life with little to no shadows). Of course, I found the tutorial on Pinterest you can find the link here. The light box allowed me, a sub-par photographer, take professional-looking images of both the collections and items for the online store. This simple creation has let me take these (if I do say so myself) smashing pictures:

My other large project is to create, with the other intern and the guidance of a board member, a fundraising event. I am glad that I am being given the opportunity to develop a fundraising plan from beginning to end, since it is wonderful experience to have. I am also slightly terrified. Fundraisers can do a lot of good, but they can also fail in an epic fashion. We started off our planning process with a brainstorming session and some of the hard facts. Our budget will be limited to $300 which goes fast with high Alaskan prices.

So far the experience has been wonderful and the hammer puns abound.