Mobile Millinery Museum Milestone


I can’t believe it’s been 20 years, but here we are, still going strong, meeting great people, reconnecting with old friends and learning more and more about hat history. Our archive of contemporay designer pieces by eminent designers is growing, as is our tremendous collection of historically significant hats, costume, birds, feathers and other accessories.

The travelling archive has presented countless Retrospective Millinery Fashion Shows and themed costume exhibits at hospitals, retirement homes, churches, libraries and service groups from Winnipeg, Manitoba to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island and points in between, as well as installations at museums such as Toronto’s Casa Loma, Brockville’s Fulford Place, and the Dundas museum.

Along the way, I’ve written and photographed 5 illustrated books based on the museum’s collection of hats, wedding finery, shoes, lingerie, and children’s clothing. My signature work, 1,000 Hats (Schiffer Books) remains a popular resource for collectors and designers, and my latest book, Darlings of Dress: Children’s Costiume 1860 to 1920 was made available a year ago.

To mark the anniversary, we’re showcasing Canadian Crowns, a millinery fashion show of exceptional vintage and contemporary pieces by Canadian milliners, in addition to their long list of themed fashion exhibits and installations.

With National Hat Day (January 15) only a few days way, the MMM wishes to thank our  many supporters over the past two decades. Here’s our full list of travelling exhibits for 2019:

  • Say Yes to the Wedding Dress Exhibit: As seen in Today’s Bride Magazine and the Hamilton Spectator, this presentation from the Mobile Millinery Museum & Costume Archive features a collection of antique and vintage bridal fashion showcasing iconic wedding gowns from the 1860s to the 1980s. Many of the gowns are featured in the book Accessorizing the Bride; Vintage Bridal Fashion Through the Decades and were included in an exhibit of vintage bridal fashion at Toronto’s Casa Loma in 2001. An ideal presentation for a Valentine’s Day tea or fund raiser.
  • Retrospective Millinery Fashion Show: The Mobile Millinery Museum is home to over 2500 historical hats, half of which are featured in the popular coffee table book, 1,000 Hats. Each is a sartorial treasure evoking feelings of nostalgia and memories of special times. Edith Kennedy of the Uxbridge Historical Museum called our show “fascinating, fun, and entertaining.” The perfect accompaniment to a Mother’s Day tea, Easter or Victoria Day celebration.
  •  Gatsby Garments: What They Wore to Roar: Roll down your stockings, throw on some beads, and scoop some Bees Knees punch as we present Gatsby Garments: What They Wore to Roar. Travel back in time with us to the gin joints and speakeasies, boudoirs and beaches of the roaring twenties, for an intimate look at authentic fashion artefacts from this unique fashion period.
  •  Unsinkable Fashion: An exhibit of authentic Titanic era fashion, much of it as ethereal as the fog that surrounded the fated ship itself.
  • The Sexy Sixties: Feast your eyes on signature pieces from that decade of fashion fun and rebellious flower power.
  • Seventies Sensations:Platform shoes, pantsuits and ponchos  paint a vivd picture of the far-out fashions women wore in this iconic decade.
  • Fall under Autumn’s spell with our Witches’s Tea Party presentation, a celebration of black hats and tea culture. The Witches’ Tea Party collection is a Halloween-themed, witch’s brew of black fashion hats through the decades. This one-hour exhibit is presented in a fashion show format. As with our signature Retrospective Millinery Fashion Show, we invite your staff and/or volunteers to model the hats.


Published by Norma Shephard

I'm the founder and director of the Mobile Millinery Museum & author of five books on vintage fashion.

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