Nutcracker Museum

Bavarian Leavenworth, Washington

June 2016 Newsletter


Sonneberg is located in the state of Thuringia in central Germany, and has long been known as the center of toymaking.  It is considered “Santa’s Workshop” and is famous for its dolls.   Standing wood nutcrackers in the forms of soldiers and kings were shown in this region long before 1800, and it is believed that the nutcracker seen by ETA Hoffmann and used for his story of the ‘Nussknacker und Mausekönig’ was made here.  Many authorities believe that men from Sonneberg went to the Ergebirge to find work in the mines, and took their handcrafts with them, thus introducing nutcracker and other toy making to the mine workers.

The earliest Sonneberg nutcracker in the museum is a figure of Napoleon which dates to 1820.  It is crafted of wood with a face of paper mache, another product for which the area is famous.

This nutcracker of Wilhelm, Emperor of Germany, was also made in the early 19th century, and another Napoleon with a big reinforced paper followed soon after.

Soldiers, circa 1860-80, are shown with the traditional pointed hats topped with a ball, carved eyes, and long skinny feet. They also have a protrusion on the hands indicating a thumb, and  sometimes one palm is turned forward. 

Many unusual nutcrackers have come from the Sonneberg region.  These nutcrackers are from the latter part of the 19th and very early 20th century.  Note the miner in his yellow apron.

Small interesting nutcrackers also came from the Sonneberg craftsmen.  These are 6.5 to 7 inches and the chubby figures have a long handle in the back making it easy to crack nuts. 

Here are some delightful nutcrackers showing big noses, a big bird with long beak, and a man with long brimmed hat.  It is plain to see how the nut is cracked!!

Arlene Wagner, The Nutcracker Lady
Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum

Kids Love Nutcrackers
Leavenworth Ale-Fest

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Federal ID #91-2143303

A Non-Profit 501(c)3 Organization


Contact Us

735 Front Street
P.O. Box 2212
Leavenworth, WA 98826

(509) 548-4573

Open 7 Days a Week
1:00PM - 5:00PM

Nutcracker Museum Mission Statement:

"To foster and encourage the interest of the general public of the importance of nuts in the diets of humans throughout history and in the evolution of the nutcracker. No other tool or collectible has shown such a wide diversity of material and design as the implements used to crack the hard shell of a nut"

Museum Admission:

Adults  - $5.00  (Ages 17 - 64yrs)
Seniors - $3.50  (Age 65yrs +)
Youth   - $2.00  (Ages 6 - 16yrs)
Child    - FREE   (Ages 0 - 5yrs)
Active Military - FREE (Spouse & Children Free with ID)