Home Up Moment of Fame



Hats, hats, hats.......

This video was prepared by channel 12 in 2006 when the Hat exhibit was on display

Treat yourself.  Visit the Huntington Historical Society Display of hats at the Conklin House Museum.  The Society has selected from their extensive collection, some of their most interesting hats, dating from the 19th and early 20th century.  Each has a story.  Each is special in its own way. 

In 2006 everyone is in a hurry.  Don’t pay attention to the old saying: “Here’s your hat.  What’s your hurry?”  Stay, linger, and enjoy our presentation.

This exhibit is our way of familiarizing the community with the spectacular diversity of millinery fashion worn by the residents of Huntington over a period of 170 years.  With one exception these hats have all been donated by local residents.  The donations have been gratefully received, catalogued, and preserved since the very beginning of the Huntington Historical Society in 1903.  They are a precious heritage, worthy of all our efforts to preserve and protect. But also they are a treasure to share with the public.  They represent our history.  They represent your history.

Over the years, the village of Huntington has seen its occupants cover their heads with feathers and furs, military helmets, silk and straw, plastic netting, plastic fruit and nylon tulle.  The materials and designs of these creations often times came from Huntington’s own milliners.  Paris, France may have been the fashion capitol of the world, but “Nora of Huntington” was one of our local milliners who provided inspiration and style.  Her hats may be seen among those being tried on by our fashionable model in her aqua lace dress.

In one display case we see a beautiful straw “picture hat” with a wide flattering brim ornamented with velvet bows and silk flowers.  We can picture this lady living in Huntington in 1908, most likely married to a man of means.  She has the time to attend afternoon tea and socialize with her friends.  Compare her lifestyle, dreams and aspirations with those of the Shaker lady from upstate New York whose simple woven poplar bonnet was a reflection of her religious upbringing.  This bonnet (on loan for our exhibit) protected her head from the sun, but also tended to hide her face from others.

The men of Huntington were definitely not to be outdone by the ladies.  The top hat, the bowler (or derby), the straw boater are all examples of the gentleman of the town keeping up with the styles.  As men accumulated wealth, they bought automobiles.  They couldn’t wear their silk top hats in an open roadster, so special motoring gear had to be developed.  See our example of the fur motoring cap.  A man wearing this hat says to the world that he is a man of means as well as a man of style.  See also our plaid golfing cap.  Sports, such as golf, became another way of bringing out the peacock in the man, allowing him to express color and personality.


This Exhibit was mounted by "The Ladies of the Attic", and demonstrates one corner of the extensive Costume collection maintained by the Society.

The photographs below show portions of the exhibit and the reception held for its opening.