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Exhibit covers American fashion history from head to toe

The Clark County Museum wants people to walk a mile in other people’s shoes — and hats. As a matter of fact, it wants people to explore more than a century’s worth of American footwear and headwear with its upcoming exhibit.

“There is the saying you shouldn’t criticize someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes,” said Dawna Joliff, the exhibit curator. “Or, as heard on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ you shouldn’t criticize someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. That way, you’re a mile away and you have their shoes.”

The exhibit is scheduled to open in August and run through December at the 1830 S. Boulder Highway museum.

Her inspiration for the newest exhibit comes from Clark County Museum administrator Mark Hall-Patton.

As a television personality, featured as an expert on “Pawn Stars” on the History Channel, Hall-Patton is known for his beard and his signature hats.

One of his favorites — a black Amish-style hat — is expected to be on display within the exhibit.

“I actually have three hats on display,” he said.

Hall-Patton loaned a custom-made top hat he wears only on special occasions.

Alongside Hall-Patton’s contribution, Joliff has pulled hat styles from every decade starting from the late 1800s.

“They have been featured in many exhibits,” she said. “But they have never been seen as the main item.”

Whether it is the veil-draped hats of the ’40s or the fedoras of the ’20s, the museum has pulled an array of fashion trends.

“Your hat usually reflected what type of work you did,” Joliff said.

But it’s not just the trendy hats of the time.

Sections of the exhibit are also expected to include hats from fraternal societies such as the Knights of Columbus or the Shriners and specialty hats from Native American tribes.

“It was hard to narrow down,” Joliff said. “I tried to pick styles that might be appealing to people.”

Joliff said she is also planning to have workers’ hats, including those worn by construction workers and policemen.

Hat boxes are also set to be displayed.

“We don’t really see hat boxes anymore,” Joliff said.

But what are hats without shoes?

Platforms, Red Wing, Nike and Reebok shoes will help walk guests through the different time periods.

Even the boxes for footwear have changed — some used to be larger boxes with handles for people to carry their purchases.

Joliff also has gathered hat and shoes accessories such as a shoe polish stand from the 1800s.

“Kids on the street used to use these,” she said. “For a dime, they would polish your shoes.”

While people look at the changing styles, Joliff plans to offer tidbits of history, such as hat etiquette for men and women.

Fact sheets give rules on when to don a hat — put it on — or doff a hat — take it off.

“I never knew you weren’t supposed to show the inside of your hat,” she said. “I guess it was because the inside could have a sweat stain, and you don’t want to show that.”

Joliff also has included advertisements for shoes and hats and expressions such as “If the shoe fits, wear it” or “Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.”

At the end of the tour, people are invited to make their own hat from paper.

“The hands-on station allows people to make a little pirate hat or a newspaper pressman’s hat,” she said.

Since the exhibit is running through December, Joliff said she would probably add seasonal hats, such as a Santa’s hat, to the collection.

Hall-Patton added that the exhibit is timely.

“Hats seem to be making a comeback,” he said.

The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for seniors and children.

For more information, call 702-455-7955.

Contact Henderson/Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at or 702-387-5201.