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King of the Nutcrackers

By Linda Tancs

Boasting one of the world’s largest nutcracker collections, the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum in Washington State touts the evolution of the nutcracker. Such a collection would hardly be complete without the hundreds of traditional toy soldiers with gaping mouths that make their appearance in homes at Christmas time. But you’ll also find over 6,000 nutcrackers—representing the work of over 50 countries—carved from wood, metal, ivory, porcelain and other materials. Their designs, both simplistic and artistic, run the gamut from serious to whimsical, ecclesiastical to risqué and menacing to cute. Visitors from over 75 countries have been greeted by Karl, a 6-foot-tall Bavarian nutcracker carved in Oberammergau.

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