Hairwork: Relics of Remembrance

This spring, Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites invites you to explore HairWork: Relics of Remembrance, an exhibition dedicated to Victorian hairwork and other fascinating hair art on display across multiple historic sites. Discover the various ways people used loved ones’ hair to create unique, lasting mementos and family portraits as a way to express love and cherish memories in a time before photography was available to the masses. Running from March 16 – September 3, 2017, this exhibit examines the rise of the sentimental arts during the Victorian Era in Bethlehem through hairwork.

Hairwork is the practice of braiding, laying, wrapping, or weaving human hair to create intricate jewelry, wreaths, realistic landscapes, and more. Hairwork rose in popularity in the Victorian Era, 1837- 1901, due to an increased interest in the sentimentality, mortality, and unconventional materials. The resulting artifacts often do not look like hair to the unsuspecting eye.

Wreaths and other motifs would use hair from many different family members, resulting in colors that range from the more common brunette and blonde, to the rarer white, gray, and red. Hairwork was often adorned with gold, jet, pearls, turquoise and other gemstones, each of which held a specific and special meaning.

Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts is honored to exhibit a selection of Pamela Moschini’s extensive private collection of hairwork, 30 years in the making- made available for public view for the very first time. Her collection features hair wreaths, jewelry, bouquets under glass domes, and other tokens originating from Germany, England, France, and the United States. This extraordinary assortment includes hairwork encased within a table and even a piece that contains George Washington’s brother’s hair.

Admission to Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites is $10 for one-site museum pass or $20 for multi-site museum pass. Members receive free admission.

From Monday through Friday, the museum is open by appointment. If you plan to be visiting Bethlehem on the weekdays, call 1-800-360-TOUR at least 48 hours in advance of your visit to reserve your tour of the museum.

Event Type: Museums
Event Location:Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts, 427 N New St, Bethlehem directions »
Event Times:
  • Every Sat.. from Mar 18 – Sep 2, 2017 (11:00 am – 4:00 pm)
  • Every Sun.. from Mar 19 – Sep 3, 2017 (11:00 am – 4:00 pm)

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