Video: Leila's Hair Museum Tour

Hair Museum

Independence, Missouri

The Hair Museum in Independence, Missouri, is a unique collection of human hair as decoration -- mainly from a Victorian era craze of weaving family locks into hang-able art.

Leila Cohoon is the best to tell the tale of Hair art, if you're lucky enough to catch her at her museum and she has time for a little tour. We lucked out on this trip... [2:44]

Video Transcript

Leila's Hair Museum Tour (2007)

My name is Leila Cohoon and welcome to Leila's Hair Museum.

When I first started collecting I used to put them under the bed and in the closets at home. And mainly to hide them from my husband. [laughs] He used to ask when are you going to get enough, and my answer is never.

This is a table where a lady would sit to do this. This is mycin and this is where she would keep the hair. This is the drawer for different things and this would be her tools. There was probably a little stool at one time.

It took a lot of hair wreaths. I have over 350, but it took a lot for me to finally nail it down that that's what they were really doing. That it was a way of keeping track of the family.

That one is the Townsend family. Mr. Townsend here, Mrs. Townsend and that's their children, and if this is on the back. So if you look at number 12 is Ann at two years, number 13 is Ann at 14 years and number 14 is Ann at 22 years. So the mother saved the children's hair different time periods.

Then of course this one helped because that's the wedding gift. That's the bride and groom's hair the bride's dress and the bridal party the more a taffeta around there, and that's the hair of the friends and relatives who came to the wedding in 1886 down in Texas. And I have the bride's name and the lady's name that made that.

These hair buttons I didn't know about until about ten or fifteen years ago that they even made buttons out of human hair, and I've just purchased two more. I can find them occasionally on the internet now.

Now these are postcards that went through the mail. They have the address on the back and a stamp, and I think that might be a German thing, but I'm not sure.

Of course I knew Elvis's hairdresser, so that's almost a given. I also have a picture Elvis when he was getting his first haircut for the military. Now I'm ready to move again because I've got all the walls filled, and I've got about 30 more to go in here, so I don't have all of my jewelry in here.

So I've got to have a bigger space.

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