Leila’s Hair Museum – Independence, MO
Are we “hair” today and gone tomorrow? Not so at “Leila’s Hair Museum” in historic Independence, Missouri.
If you have never heard of or seen a piece of jewelry made from human hair or a Victorian hair wreath, “Leila’s Hair Museum” will rectify that.
Considered to be the only museum in the world that is solely devoted to items made from human hair, it affords a unique look into the Victorian era that visitors would be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.
A little-known vestige of the Victorian past, wreaths, and jewelry made of human hair served several functions. They were part of good luck charms, remembrances of the dead, family trees before there were genealogical societies and adornments for genteel society.
Victorian ladies, known for spending hours brushing their hair, would save whatever stray hairs fell out during the brushing process. These strands of hair would be saved in a designated receptacle. Each family member’s hair was saved and then weaved into various items depending on the crafter’s whims.
When Civil War fighting broke out many a heartsick woman wove her hair into a watch fob or good luck charm that could be sent off to war with her brave soldier.
Some made horseshoe-shaped wreaths to adorn their front doors as a good luck talisman. Others made brooches to honor the deceased during mourning and countless others assembled generations of hair into a large piece of art marked with each family member’s name. A coat of arms made of hair if you will.
The custom of saving human hair and turning it into jewelry, wreaths, and works of art wasn’t just popular during the Victorian era. It existed for many years and is still employed by some die-hard hair aficionados even to this day.
“Leila’s Hair Museum” features over 2,000 pieces of hair jewelry and 159 hair wreaths including one that was once owned by renowned actress Phyllis Diller.
Visiting Leila’s Hair Museum
“Leila’s Hair Museum” is open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 am until 4:00 pm. Currently, admission is $5.00 for adults and $2.50 for children ages 12 and under.
Leila’s Hair Museum
1333 South Noland
Independence, MO 64055
More to See in Independence Missouri
“Leila’s Hair Museum” isn’t the only interesting attraction in Independence, Missouri. The fourth-largest city in the state offers much more where that came from. From Victorian “Hair-a-tics” to political heretics, Independence has them all.