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

Hosted by The Ruthmere Foundation, Inc.

Experience the diversity of the world’s cultures through an exhibit of international hats and headdresses.

July 5 @ 10:00 am EDT – September 27 @ 3:00 pm EDT
Ruthmere Museum Campus/Havilah Beardsley House
102 W. Beardsley Ave.
Elkhart, IN 46514
$2 – $13

Event Details

This summer Ruthmere hosts a traveling exhibit from International Arts and Artists. 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 1,300 extraordinary pieces of international headwear.

The Global Language of Headwear features hats from 42 countries across Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and North and South America—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 hats and headdresses communicate timeless ideas—not only of beauty, but also of what it means to be human.

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. The exhibit includes interpretive panels that help visitors move past the artistic value of the headwear pieces to think about the mutual themes of cultural identity, status, celebration and spiritual beliefs we all share. Children who visit the exhibit will be issued a “passport” when entering; as they “visit” and learn about the 42 countries represented in the exhibit, they’ll earn passport stamp stickers. Along the way, specially developed panels will allow the young visitors to think about the hats that they see around them every day and how different cultures communicate and celebrate through wearing headwear.

For more information about the exhibit, visit Ruthmere’s website, call 888.287.7696 or email info@ruthmere.org.

This program received support from an Indiana Humanities Action Grant.