If you're tooling around Wisconsin this summer, stop by Duluth Trading Co.'s completely renovated 1882 mercantile store in Mount Horeb to take a gander at the Wally Keller Tool Museum.
Open to the public during Duluth Trading store hours, the museum showcases an extensive collection of vintage hand tools, dating from the end of the Civil War through the 1950s, collected by well-known Mount Horeb folk artist/sculptor Wally Keller. The late artist was known for the scrap metal creatures he lovingly crafted from old farm machinery, commercial and automotive parts and proudly displayed in his yard.
What people didn’t know is that Keller was also the owner of an extensive 3,147-piece hand tool collection, according to Duluth.
When Steve Schlecht, owner of Duluth Trading, visited Keller’s home in 2009 in search of sculptures, he was treated to a peek at Keller’s tool collection — including an alligator wrench, railroad spike puller and fence stretcher. At the request of Keller’s wife, Duluth Trading later acquired the entire collection. Today, visitors to the Duluth Trading store can read the “Whatsis” board in the Wally Keller Tool Museum to test their know-how, and try to figure out what the heck all the odd tools were used for.
For information, visit www.duluthtrading.com.