While the emphasis is on the antique nutcrackers, the museum also displays the nutcrackers of the current makers. The largest producer today of the wooden toy nutcrackers is Christian Steinbach of Germany. His colorful, elaborate designs attract many collectors who come to the museum to see the most complete Steinbach collection. Many other modern makers are represented--Christian Ulbricht, Lothar Junghanel, Klaus Mertens, Franz Karl, Olaf Kolbe, Helgard Petersen, Gunther Ulbricht and the many workshops of the Erzgebirge.
So how did all of this start? How did the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum come to be? Arlene Wagner, a former ballet teacher, produced the famous Nutcracker Ballet for many years and just as Clara in the ballet became entranced with the wooden figure with the big teeth, so did Arlene. She and her husband , George, have traveled far and wide and have amassed one of the world’s largest collections, numbering well over 6000 pieces.
Since the Wagners opened the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum in 1995, it has been visited by people from 50 states and 49 foreign countries! When you are in Leavenworth plan to see us too! There is an outstanding video presentation before the tour begins. Our video gives a good history of the nutcracker.