Salt and Pepper Museum – Traer, Iowa


Salt and Pepper Museum – Traer, Iowa

Something different and so much fun awaits you in Traer, Iowa. Come and see the HUGE salt and pepper collection in this unique museum.

The city approved a $12,500 (collected in sales tax) purchase of 14,400 pairs of salt and pepper shakers.

The shakers were assembled by resident Ruth Rasmussen, who’s been collecting sets since 1949. 84-year-old Rasmussen is glad her collection is going to a good place. "I can’t take care of them anymore," she says. At one point, her collection was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest. Now it is the second largest in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Rasmussen began collecting the shakers in 1949 — her first two were picked up at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago.

Her biggest purchase came in 1950 when she bought a group with 1,500 sets. Her collection includes shakers from around the country and the world. One pair is a gift from a soldier who picked them up while serving in Iraq.

Want to see something different and fun? Then visit Traer, Iowa. The population was 1,594 at the 2000 census.

Location: 21 miles south of Waterloo/Cedar Falls on highways 63 and 8. 


  1. Sharon Thompson says:

    I would like to donate my small salt & pepper to your museum. I heard about your museum project this past fall on TV. Please send me information on where I can send my collection. I have about 50 pair or more and they are about 45 years old.

    Hope to hear from you soon. Sharon Thompson

  2. Ellen is contacting the owner of these salt and pepper shakers to let her know they would be delighted with the donation. We are glad that could help in expanding the Salt and Pepper Museum – Traer, Iowa collection.

    We were informed that the Salt and Pepper Museum – Traer, Iowa is not open to the public yet, they are still putting things in place so keep checking to set your Iowa vacation plans to visit Traer and the museum in the near future!

  3. Frances Boone says:

    Does the Salt & Pepper Museum purchase collections? My mother of 84 years has a collection of over 800 salt and pepper shakers. She started collecting them in 1950. I (her daughter) would like to see the collection stay together. I am not sure of the value, but if sold the money could aid in my mother’s care.
    Thank you,
    Frances Boone

  4. Thank you for contacting with your inquiry. I have spoken with Ellen Young, she is in charge of the museum, and asked her if they are interested in purchasing more collections. At this time they are not going to be buying any collections since they are fortunate enough to have people donating them to the museum in order to keep the collections together and to share them with others.

    The museum is not open yet, it will probably be three or four months yet. They are moving the building into Traer and then doing some construction (adding on) before it will open.

    I’m sorry that they are not in a position to purchase the collection, I can certainly understand your desire to both keep it together and to assist with your mother’s care, it just won’t work for the Salt and Pepper Museum and their limited funding right now.

    Pat Watson

  5. David Shipp says:

    When exactly will the museum open to the public and what will the days and hours be? We travel Iowa almost every month and find some of the neatest stuff in the USA on display and exhibit. This museum certainly sounds like a must-see. Please e-mail me at if you know when it will open and days and hours. Thanks

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