Leila's Hair Museum – Independence, Missouri - Atlas Obscura

Leila's Hair Museum

A museum celebrating the Victorian obsession with hair art. 


Leila Cohoon’s Hair Museum in Independence, Missouri displays 400+ wreaths and more than 2,000 pieces of jewelry made out of human hair. Though turning hair into wreaths was something of a Victorian obsession, hair art actually dates back to at least the 1400s.

Some of the displays in Cohoon’s collection come from as far back as the 17th century. In an age before photography, collecting hair was a way of capturing the essence of a person at a point in time, and keeping the memory of a deceased love one near. “That is the only part of that human body that’s still here,” says Cohoon.

Know Before You Go

There's plenty of parking at the museum, but if you prefer mass transit, Metro stop 303 is less than a block away, and the Amtrak station is only a mile and a half away. Plan to spend at least an hour. The museum guides give in-depth tours (although you can opt to look around on your own). The museum closes for major holidays and severe weather; check their Facebook page or call when you plan to visit to make sure they'll be open.

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