Hold onto Your Hats!

An exhibition about the history and meaning of hats and other headwear in Canada

Do you wear a hat? Maybe to keep you warm in winter? Or for your job? To look good? For playing hockey or riding a bicycle? Or because all your friends wear baseball caps? This is an exhibit about why people in Canada, past and present, have worn hats — people of different ethnic groups, religions and walks of life.

Hats express things about their wearers. They stand out and frame the face — the most expressive part of the body. Some hats are practical, like the hard hat; some are symbolic, like the police officer's hat; and some hats are both, like the baseball cap.

You will find many different kinds of headgear in this exhibit, and just as many different meanings for them. Some head coverings will appear again and again, such as the veil, the cowboy hat, the feathered head-dress and the cocked hat. So, put on your thinking caps and explore!

Protection and Practicality

Religion and Ritual

Authority and Status

Identity and Belonging

Fashion and Image

Hat Lore

Reading list


Web Sites