Thursday Travel: Thermopolis Hosts Vintage Hat Show This Weekend

The Hot Springs County Museum and Cultural Center in Thermopolis will host a Vintage Hat Show on Saturday featuring models wearing more than a centurys worth of hats collected by the museum over the years.

Jim Angell

May 20, 20213 min read

Welcome to thermop sign
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Call them what you want — hats, lids, chapeaus — there is no denying that the things people put on top of their heads have always been works of fashion.

So it makes sense that when a museum wants to host a fashion show, it looks to the tops of our heads.

The Hot Springs County Museum and Cultural Center in Thermopolis will host a “Vintage Hat Show” on Saturday featuring models wearing more than a century’s worth of hats collected by the museum over the years.

Marian Bender, a curator for the museum and the event’s organizer, said the idea for the show came to her when she was helping to put away hats from the 1950s donated to the museum.

“Then I found out we had a lot of different hats,” she said. “I thought ‘We need to show these.’”

An estimated 24 hats will be worn by models on the stage at the museum, with Bender providing narration explaining the features and history of each hat, along with a description of the materials used and acknowledgement of the donor.

The oldest hat on display will be a “picture hat,” a very large lady’s hat, from 1907. Also on display will be a bowler hat worn by a Thermopolis resident during his wedding in 1914 and a straw “boater,” a hat with a flat top and brim, from the 1920s.

Many of the hats will come from the 1940s and 1950s, Bender said.

“That really was the heyday, there were so many different styles,” she said.

The newest hat, from the 1960s, is a mink “cloche,” a fitted, bell-shaped hat, Bender said.

In addition, the show will feature many cowboy hats used through the years, she said.

Bender said the number of hats that will be shown will depend somewhat on the models available.

“If we don’t have the right-sized head to put it on, we can’t show the hats,” she said.

Models for the event are coming from across the community.

“I just opened it up,” she said. “We’ve got high school kids to older folks. Of course, I recruited my fellow (museum) staffers. We’ve got a couple members of our board. It’s really hard to find guys, though. They’re too bashful.”

The hat show will run from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the museum. For more information, visit

Other events scheduled for the weekend:

The Wyoming Outdoor Weekend and Expo 2021 in Lander on Saturday;
The Cheyenne Fine Art Exchange, where art lovers can trade their services for original pieces of art, at the Cheyenne Depot on Friday and Saturday;
Joshua’s First Days of Summer Block Party, featuring food, crafts, art vendors and live music at Joshua’s Storehouse in Casper;
The Trail Mix Run at Mike Sedar Park in Casper on Saturday;
The Firefighters 5K Obstacle Race, featuring an open house of the Rawlins Fire Department, on Saturday;
The Quarantine Showdown Livestock Show in Buffalo Friday through Sunday;
The Eaton Horse Drive through downtown Sheridan on Sunday, and
The Campbell County Shootout shooting contest at Gillette’s Cam-Plex on Saturday and Sunday.

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Jim Angell