By Laura Hicken, Assistant Registrar
Tools and equipment are essential components of the work done by architects, engineers, and builders. The Museum’s Tool Collection includes a variety of tools from different fields and time periods. Highlights from the Collection include a complete set of woodworking tools, planes, hand drills, and early power tools and saws from the beginning of the Do-It-Yourself movement in America. Many of these tools require training and experience to safely and correctly operate.We envision them in the hands of skilled artisans and professionals. Except, of course, for the Jig Saw Junior.
The Jig Saw Junior has become a bit of a staff favorite artifact due to its incongruity with the rest of our Tool Collection. While the artifacts in the Collection serve to illuminate the building process, the Jig Saw Junior also conjures terrifying images of tiny tots operating an electric powered reciprocating saw. However, the Jig Saw Junior also demonstrates that our interest in building a complex and intricate world for ourselves begins at a young age. Created by Burgess Vibrocrafters Incorporated, the tool was featured in the Museum’s 2002 exhibit Do It Yourself: Home Improvement in 20th-Century America, and currently resides in our collections storage—giving staff and visitors a good chuckle (and grimace).