Simply Mad About Hats at the Charleston Museum

The Charleston Museum, America’s first museum, founded in 1773,  is hosting one seriously chic fête in honor of the Mad Hatter and vintage headwear.   This tea party will be held in the museum’s beautiful courtyard, and for those with a certain affinity for hats and history,  join us for tea cocktails, musical entertainment, delicious treats, and an exhibit not to be missed — Charleston Museum’s presentation of vintage hats, spanning the decades and on display exclusively for the tea!

My favorite hat

(My personal favorite, above!)

Men's straw hat

(This natural straw boater hat was worn by men during the first half of the 20th century.  It was worn by George Stephen deMerell in Charleston.)

Jan Hiester, curator of textiles, has carefully brought these special pieces out from hiding, for a limited time, so party goers can feast their eyes on the craftsmanship and unique details these hats had to offer long ago.  Jan will be available to answer any questions about these exquisite toppers, and she has a lot of interesting information to share about the collection.  This exhibition is very special in that many of the hats on display have made a full circle back to our beloved city of Charleston, South Carolina.  So much in fashion over decades originated in our city, and that’s something some could easily forget until they’re reminded of the beautiful museums and stunning exhibitions thoughtfully curated and displayed for us to see.

Katie and Jan

(The Charleston Museum’s Textiles Curator, Jan Hiester, and me.)  Photo by Tae Gottem

Having the opportunity to view these hats in person gave me a lot of perspective on how headwear has evolved over the years, and why some pieces have stayed the same.  Styles ranging from tops hats, bowlers, cloches, and even a vintage football helmet made solely of leather — the Charleston Museum seems to have it all.   Some of their more unique toppers don gorgeous bird feathers, lace, netted beading, sequins, silk, and  beaver. The drama some of these hats boast are so intriguing, and still some of the more simplistic styles are being worn to this day in slightly different shapes and variations. 

Me at the CHS Museum

You’ll be able to showcase your favorite topper along with others in a scene and be seen atmosphere.  Charleston Museum’s temporary exhibit will give accessory lovers something to swoon over — especially if you’re simply “mad” about hats!

Duck Breast hat

Duck breast feathered hat, circa 1910.

ladies' bucket hat

Beautiful, blush ladies’ bucket hat.  

Feathered Cloche

A stunning feathered cloche.

Don’t miss the opportunity to view this temporary exhibit, showcased solely for the Charleston Museum’s Mad Hatter Tea Party!  Join us, today, May 7, from 6-8pm for an evening of celebrating style, hats and history!

Wide brim hat

*Reservations Required. You can register online ( or call 843.722.2996 ext. 235.

Tickets are all-inclusive. $25 for Members, $35 for non-Members.