Leila’s Hair Museum
Just 12 miles away in Independence, Missouri, is one of those roadside attractions you can’t help but visit. Leila’s Hair Museum is, unsurprisingly, the only hair museum in the world. What is surprising is just how fascinating the visit is and what a blast you’ll have. Here, there are hundreds of jewelry pieces, wreaths and more made from human hair. Hair jewelry was popular with women and men during the Victorian period of 1800-1900.
At the museum, you’ll find pieces featuring the hair of Queen Victoria, Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe, and four presidents. Religious pieces are also featured, from the cross to patron saint items. With 2,000+ jewelry items and hundreds of wreaths, it’s an homage to an art form that has roots dating back to the 12th century.
Making a Memory
Many times, such pieces were prized for memorial reasons and as a keepsake of loved ones. Hair has long been seen as a token of love. The museum’s oldest piece was crafted in 1680, featuring hair in a crystal case from Sweden. Sepias, or neckpieces, are painted with hair including one item of a weeping willow made from a woman who died at 25. It shows her husband grieving at her grave.
Every piece in the museum has a story, sometimes including the person’s name and date of birth and death. Owner Leila Cohoon says she’s proud to be the keeper of such memories. She’s a hair artist herself, skilled in 30 techniques. Don’t miss the opportunity to see this fading art in person.