Louise and Alan Sellars visited the artist and author Eric Sloane, a longtime collector of Americana. Though Alan had been collecting workshop tools, it was after seeing the new setting for Sloane’s collection of tools in a museum in Connecticut that Alan began assembling a collection of tools specific to particular trades.
In 1978 Alan and two employees of the Sellars hardware store, Carter Butterworth and Don Dougan, began building panels to display the collection. Alan wanted to exhibit his collection to the public, and he solved the question of "Where?" by hanging the panels from the ceiling above the merchandise in his hardware store. Soon more than 120 display panels were hanging back-to-back throughout the store. The panels were in a constant state of revision and addition as Alan continued to find more items to improve the collection.
Alan passed away in 1991. Louise Sellars indicated it was always Alan’s desire that his collection become a living educational experience. She felt that by donating his collection to Reinhardt College, her husband’s wishes would be fulfilled.
Photos by Jan Riser.