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Head Case: 1950’s Fashionable Hats

Lisa Duncan

Call it “vintage,” call it “retro”… if you’re mad for Mad Men, the hit TV series, or love the design attitude of the 1940’s to 1960’s—or simply delight in accessories as a form of expression and “apparel as art”—you won’t want to miss the upcoming hat exhibit at the Benicia Historical Museum.

Originally intended as a small case exhibit for the Museum this autumn, interest and contributions have compelled Curator Beverly Phelan to expand the space required out of the original display area and to move the exhibit to 2012. A cross between present day “fascinators,” (ala Kate Middleton, now the Duchess of Cambridge) and cocktail headwear, these gorgeous confections were a requirement for the era’s “ladies who lunch.”

The majority of the hats featured were donated through Gladys Wold, one of the founders of the Museum and past president. They originally belonged to Georgia Wagner, a former resident of Benicia. Beverly is interested in augmenting the display with any photographs and advertisements of women and their hats appropriate to the time period, so please give her a call at the Museum office, 707.745.5435 if you have something to lend to this special show.

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