Nestled in the heart of Independence, Missouri, Leila’s Hair Museum is a testament to the artistry and history intertwined within the strands of human hair. As an unusual yet captivating destination, the museum offers visitors a distinctive perspective on the age-old practice of hair artistry. From intricate Victorian-era pieces to contemporary creations, Leila’s Hair Museum invites guests on a fascinating journey through the evolution of this unique craft.

The Origins and Vision

Founded by Leila Cohoon, a former hairdresser passionate about preserving the heritage of hair art, the museum opened its doors in 1986. Leila’s vision was to showcase the diverse and intricate ways human hair has been utilized as a medium for artistic expression throughout history. With a collection spanning over 600 hair wreaths and over 2,000 pieces of jewelry, the museum has become a one-of-a-kind destination for those intrigued by the intersection of art and human hair.

The Victorian Era

The Victorian Era

One of the museum’s highlights is its extensive collection of Victorian hair art. During the 19th century, it was common for people to memorialize their loved ones by creating intricate pieces using strands of their hair. Visitors can marvel at delicate wreaths, brooches, and lockets meticulously crafted from human hair. These pieces not only showcase the artistic skill of the creators but also provide a poignant glimpse into the sentimental customs of the past.

Contemporary Hair Art

Leila’s Hair Museum is not confined to the historical; it also embraces contemporary expressions of hair art. The museum features pieces created by modern artists who continue pushing this unique medium’s boundaries. From avant-garde sculptures to wearable art, the contemporary section of the museum reflects the evolving nature of hair artistry and its enduring appeal.

Interactive Exhibits

Interactive Exhibits

To enhance the visitor experience, Leila’s Hair Museum offers interactive exhibits that provide insights into the process of creating hair art. Guests can learn about the techniques of crafting these delicate pieces, from braiding and weaving to the intricate patterns used in larger compositions. This hands-on approach allows visitors to appreciate the skill and patience required to master the art of working with human hair.

Preserving a Vanishing Art

As the only hair museum of its kind, Leila’s Hair Museum plays a crucial role in preserving a vanishing art form. With changing cultural norms and attitudes towards memorializing through hair, the museum is a guardian of a tradition that might otherwise be forgotten. Leila’s dedication to collecting and curating these pieces ensures that future generations can continue exploring the rich history and artistry of hair.


Leila’s Hair Museum offers a unique and enlightening journey through the world of hair artistry. As visitors explore the exhibits and interactive displays, they not only gain a deeper understanding of the historical significance of hair art but also witness its enduring beauty and relevance in the present day. Leila’s Hair Museum stands as a testament to the power of creativity and the ability of art to transcend time and tradition.

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