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