Independence, Missouri is home to the world’s only hair museum. Leila’s Hair Museum displays thousands of works of art, all made from real human hair!
Hair art? Hair museum? Are we pulling your leg with all this hairy business? Absolutely not.
Hair art has been with us a long, long time, at least since the 16th century – but it flourished most during the Victorian era (1800-1900). People wove hair into intricate and beautiful wreaths, domes, jewelry, and more. Hair was also pulverized to powder, then mixed with medium to create the “sepia” painting technique.
Most of this art and jewelry was created before the age of photography as a memento of a loved one. Whether they were departed, distant, or just someone whom you always wanted to be close too, hair art and jewelry served as a reminder of their physicality. It goes without saying that the practice has become more an oddity than a hobby since.
So much so that, despite all art created with it, there’s only one museum in the world dedicated exclusively to hair. And it’s here in Missouri!
World’s Only Hair Museum
Leila Cohoon was fascinated with hair from a very early age, becoming hairdresser in 1949. Her passion for the stuff became even greater in 1956 when she saw her first human hair wreath at an antique shop. This small wreath was the very first piece in what was to become a huge collection.
Since that fateful day, Leila’s collection has grown to include over 600 hair wreaths, over 2000 pieces of hair jewelry, and the world’s only hair museum.
Visitors to the museum will be stunned by the fascinating collection. The museum includes works involving the hair from Queen Victoria, four United States presidents, and a number of celebrities, including Michael Jackson and Marilyn Monroe.
The museum also exhibits works of sepia: paintings made using pulverized hair. The oldest piece in the museum is a brooch from 1680 containing a piece of hair encased in crystal. The museum also has reliquaries of Mother Mary, the cross, and St. Anne.
Leila’s Hair Museum
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