Hats serves as head cover and fashion statement as well while in the military, they signify a person’s rank. At the Fort Morgan Library & Museum, hats are showcased in an exhibit called “Hang on to Your Hats”.
The hats displayed belong to the museum’s collections said its curator, Nikkie Cooper. The idea of exhibiting the hats came into mind as she listened to volunteer workers who did an inventory of boxes of hats sometime back. The volunteers had fun chatting about the hats that Cooper thought of doing the exhibit.
The hats display was made unique with the help of the exhibit’s curator, Amanda Benson, a summer intern at the museum. Matching photographs that represented Morgan’s rich history were displayed along with the museum’s hats collection from different times. According to Cooper, Benson worked for hours creating the exhibit to make it worth the stories the hats had to tell. With the help of high school volunteers Nadeen Ibrahim and Leah Carey, the exhibit’s design and structure according to Benson’s preference unfolded. Ibrahim and Carey researched the hats’ history in order to label them properly. Most of the hats were donations from Morgan Country folks and efforts were put to name who wore the hats and when.
While the exhibit seemed simple, great work was put into it to make it succeed, quipped Cooper. It was not as if boxes were opened and hats were put on display but a lot of planning and background were involved, she added. As the exhibit went on, museum staff showed their support by wearing hats. Even Cooper sported a red beret, Library & Museum Assistant Andrea Ertle donned a Broncos ball cap and Library & Museum Director Andrew Dunehoo wore an Irish driving cap. Museum visitors were also encouraged to don their favorite hats.
Visitors were also welcome to create hats while at the exhibit using newspaper and folding them in an origami fashion. Cooper wanted visitors to be able to make a connection to hats whether young or old. She mentioned that there was a time when people wore hats daily regardless of their stature in life. That has changed, she said, and she wanted people to revisit a part of their culture through hats from the past and the present that were showcased at the museum.