Two weekends ago I was involved in organizing the millinery collection at Houston Community College. Boxes and boxes (dusty boxes....) were dragged out of storage, opened and each hat brushed clean using a soft brush.
Then we re-wrapped the hats in acid free paper and placed them back into the boxes, with notes.
I liked this velvet number, which I think is a 1920's design. There was not complete agreement amongst us about that dating, but I have a book on millinery from the late 1920 that included that design. The brim is a long oval shape, shorter in front and back and longer from side to side. That happens to be a favorite style of mine.
This luscious black number had us all speculating. It could be rather recent, say 1960s, or as old 1880's. It had layers and layers of silk and velvet flowers and fruit and whatnot.
Most of the hats were rather pedestrian, and a number of them sported labels stating "Mary of River Oaks". River Oaks being the exclusive area of Houston.
It was an interesting way to spend the morning. I'm totally available for this kind of activity for any major museum quality collection. Spread the word!
In my dreams this would happen. You just never know. Dreams sometimes do come true.
PS: A special Happy Birthday to my favorite vintage design, who I hope will enjoy opening some boxes himself when we celebrate his 53 year mark later. He's a one of a kind design, and I'm glad I "collected" him early on.