What began as a hobby has turned into a full-blown nonprofit, Grass Roots Antique Tool Museum, housed in an old barn on Mike and Nina Snegg’s five-acre Nevada City farm. The tools are intricately arranged by category; saws, drills, yard sticks, hammers, locks, levels and date back 200 years and more.
The Museum started a bit by chance in 2004. Local Nevada County resident, John Weisenberg, was seeking a permanent home for his extensive tool collection of over fifty years. John wanted a home to preserve his treasured collection, and his friend Mike Snegg and family were a perfect fit.
The Snegg family had a long tradition with tools. Snegg’s father, David Snegg, owned The Tool Crib in Pasadena and was one of the pioneers of the equipment rental industry starting just after World War II with surplus military equipment.
In 2007, a collage of images of the tools was shown in the de Young Museum, San Francisco.
Well-known Chinese artist Shi Gourui created this display. Light was shined upon an arrangement of museum tools to paint an image on photo paper. Shi Gourui specializes in this art process. He also did a photogram of the San Francisco skyline from Alcatraz at about the same time.
Nina Snegg at the de Young Museum in San Francisco
Mike and Nina Snegg in front of the collage of images of tools