The Global Language of Headwear: Cultural Identity, Rites of Passage, and Spirituality

  • 302 E. Beardsley Ave, Elkhart, IN 46514
  • Tel: (574) 264-0330
  • Presented By: Ruthmere Museum
  • Dates: July 5, 2024
  • Location: Ruthmere Museum
  • Time: 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM
  • Price: Ruthmere Tour Adult - $10 Student - $4/Havilah Beardsley House Tour Adult - $5 Student - $2



The Global Language of Headwear: Cultural Identity, Rites of Passage, and Spirituality presents 89 hats and headdresses carefully selected from a private collection of more than 1300 extraordinary pieces of international headwear.
This exhibition features hats from 42 countries across Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and North and South America, and is a tribute to the stunning diversity of the world’s cultures. With a few exceptions, the pieces are from the mid-to-late 20th century, and many are still worn today in parts of the world for revelry, ritual, and the rhythms of everyday life. More than utilitarian objects of material culture, each hat is a unique work of art—not merely because of the skill required to make it, but also as a singular expression of creativity and cultural meaning.
The profusion of shapes, styles, and materials, as well as the ingenious use of embellishments to decorate the hats, are limited only by imagination. The Global Language of Headwear is organized into five thematic sections: Cultural Identity; Power; Prestige and Status; Ceremonies and Celebrations; Spiritual Beliefs; and Protection. Hats and headdresses communicate timeless ideas—not only of beauty, but also of what it means to be human.
Sponsored in part by Steve and Julie Bachman. This exhibit and related programs have been made possible through a grant from Indiana Humanities in cooperation with the National Endowment for the Humanities.