Hats off to – hats

Covering heads for practical or cultural reasons is seen across centuries and around the world. By the same token, taking a head-cover off sends a strong message of respect and admiration.

Everybody is invited to take their hats off to hats in theĀ Ethnographic Museum in Zagreb. The exhibition about the headcovers has opened on 24 September to present the local traditions and related customs from different parts of the world.

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The exhibition concerns mostly the cultural and traditional aspects of headcovers. Nonetheless, the Zagreb’s hat-makers make some of the most involved protagonists and witnesses of the passage of time in the country, in terms of both textile and political fashions.

On that account, there is one particularly interesting personal story. It is about one industrious self-effacing Zagreb-based lady hat-maker from the beginning of the 20th century.

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As the family story goes, she entrepreneurially engaged the society, politics, and fashion, and lived a roller-coaster life of a successful (business) woman.

Anka was said to have built a respectful hat-maker career and has created a well-established business that rendered her with a comfortable living, which she gladly shared with her workers. However, she lost everything to the regime and served an unmerited prison sentence for owning too many spools of thread.

Subsequently, already in her mature life, she emigrated to Germany to work and create a new life. She returned financially well recovered and continued her life in Zagreb with her family and friends. She was one of the Zagreb’s hat-maker lionesses.

The headcover exhibition at the Ethnographic Museum presents some of the hat-related stories and provides a context for some personal and family stories. Those individual stories are known best to the people who (or whose families) wear/wore and make/made hats, which constituted their urbanity. This specific individual read, incorporating their personal and family history with headcovers and related past times, gives an additional and unique layer to the exhibition.

Just like the silence complements the notes to make music complete, so do the visitors complement the exhibition of the Ethnographic Museum with their individual perspectives. And this way wonderfully illustrating how fully living is really all about respectfully wearing and taking off many hats.

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