November, 2022

Headdresses from around the world, the Antoine de Galbert collection

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Download images of the exhibition here
Please make sure to put the photo credit : © Patrick Desrochers / Pointe-à-Callière

Press release

November 17, 2022 to March 12, 2023

A journey around the world through over 300 headdresses from an exceptional collection

Montréal, November 16, 2022 – Opening on November 17, 2022, the new exhibition at Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal’s archaeology and history complex, showcases headwear in all its forms... extravagant, colourful, and surprising! Headdresses from Around the World, The Antoine de Galbert Collection invites the public to embark on an incredible journey of discovery, featuring some 300 pieces of headwear and adornment from Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. A true window onto the world’s incredible cultural diversity.

The exclusive North American presentation of a remarkable collection

At the crossroads of history, geography, and ethnology, the exhibition shines a spotlight on a plurality of cultures from around the globe by focusing on an object that is common to all of humanity: headwear. Headband, bonnet, cap, skullcap, hood, helmet, hat, tagelmust, blazon, crown, diadem, hure, tiara, tuque, turban… over some 30 years of research, French collector and philanthropist Antoine de Galbert gathered an incredible variety of headdresses—objects of great beauty, most of which date from the late-19th century to the early-21st century—which he donated to the Musée des Confluences in Lyon, France, in 2017.

The exhibition Headdresses from Around the World, The Antoine de Galbert Collection takes visitors on a veritable tour of the continents, giving them the opportunity to experience the history and culture of over 200 peoples. Beyond their aesthetic qualities, the headdresses provide several clues about those who wore them, bearing witness to their status, their customs, and their beliefs. Added to this extraordinary collection of headwear are objects from Pointe-à-Callière’s own collections, as well as from the Royal Museum of Ontario, the Musée de la civilisation, and the Université de Montréal.

In all, there are over 300 headdresses on display in the exhibition, accompanied by several archival images and videos to provide context, putting visitors up close and personal with the men and women whose heads they adorned in daily life or on ceremonial occasions.

Headdresses from Around the World, The Antoine de Galbert Collection is an opportunity to discover and to meet people—an ode to our rich and invaluable cultural diversity—that the Museum is inviting the public to experience this fall. It’s also a chance to explore this prestigious collection, which Mr. de Galbert has assembled with great passion, presented in North America for the first time, exclusively at Pointe-à-Callière.” — Anne Élisabeth Thibault, Executive Director of Pointe-à-Callière

Every headdress tells a story

Worn in daily life or for grand occasions, headdresses meet many needs: practical, social, identity-forming, protective, and symbolic. Sometimes, their role is also magical, protecting the wearer from the invisible world. Through their shapes, colours, materials, and ornamentation, they can reveal the wearers’ social status, tell us about their home, their occupation, or their role.

Headdresses and adornments also play a key role in ceremonies marking important stages in the history of a community and the individuals of which it is comprised. They celebrate birth, the transition to adulthood, and marriage; embody a chief’s political and spiritual power; represent an identity, a belief, or an act of resistance; honour spirits and ancestors; praise a combatant’s acts of bravery; or symbolize the organization of society. Reminding us of the thousand-and-one reasons why we have been covering our heads down through the millennia, the exhibition gives us a glimpse into the ties that bind us as human beings

Innovative exhibition design that takes you on a journey

Made of fabric and feathers, wood and earth, hair, metal, beads, and precious stones, the headdresses on display throughout the exhibition’s thematic layout bear witness—through their ornamentation—to the natural environments in which they were produced. Enticing and immersive, Pointe-à-Callière’s exhibition design gives visitors a sense of these various ecosystems. Using lighting, forms, textures, and audiovisual effects, the exhibition creates a space conducive to exploring the stories behind the headdresses. It also puts viewers into closer contact with the men and women who made them, providing an opportunity to appreciate their know-how and creativity. An innovative backdrop that makes for a unique visit!

Headdresses from Around the World, The Antoine de Galbert Collection is an exhibition produced by Pointe-à-Callière, based on an original concept by the Musée des Confluences in Lyon (France).

Presented through a partnership with Air Canada Cargo, Uville Hotel, La Presse, and Tourisme Montréal.

Exhibition Catalogue (in French)

In 2017, Antoine de Galbert donated his collection of headdresses to the Musée des Confluences, in Lyon. Taking an “instinctive, playful, and spontaneous” approach to our relationship with headdresses, the pieces in the collection tell the stories of various societies and amazing aesthetics from around the world. Moving from one continent to another, this richly illustrated catalogue takes the reader on a journey of discovery, featuring hundreds of headdresses, symbols of the world’s cultures.

Co-published by Seuil/Musée des Confluences. 326 pages.
Available at the Museum Shop.

Complementing the exhibition

A series of four lectures will be held to complement the presentation of Headdresses from Around the World, The Antoine de Galbert Collection. Drawing on the headgear featured in the collection, the speakers will invite the public to explore cultural traditions from Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. The first lecture will take place on Sunday, November 27 at 1 pm, with a focus on South American headdresses.

During the holiday season, family-friendly creative workshops will introduce participants to some of the recurring motifs seen on the headwear in the exhibition and to various techniques used to make headdresses. During school break, shows, storytelling, and culinary activities will give the public the opportunity to explore the cultural traditions of the four continents represented. A true voyage of discovery, in the heart of the winter season… Destination: the world!

Always available, a visitors’ guide for children is an entertaining way to tour the exhibition, punctuated with fun challenges.

Memberships: last chance to take advantage of the special 30th anniversary rate

For Pointe-à-Callière’s 30th anniversary in 2022, individual memberships are being offered at the single price of $30, providing unlimited admission to the Museum, along with several other advantages, for a one-year period. That’s just $5 more than the cost of a single admission ticket! A great opportunity to come see Headdresses from Around the World, The Antoine de Galbert Collection and come back to experience other current exhibitions and those coming up in the spring of 2023.

More info

About Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Archaeology and History Complex

Inaugurated in 1992 on the city’s 350th anniversary, Pointe-à-Callière is today the largest archaeology museum in Canada and the busiest history museum in Montréal. Rising above a concentrated number of historic and archaeological sites of national significance—including the birthplace of Montréal—, the Museum has a mission to preserve its collections and to further knowledge, while showcasing and fostering an appreciation for Montréal’s archaeological and historical heritage. This mission is carried out through various activities focused on conservation, research, presentation, education, and inclusion, along with community initiatives benefiting both Montrealers and visitors to the city.

**Pointe-à-Callière, proud partner of the City of Montréal. **.


Source :

Nora Charifi
Communications Project Manager, Pointe-à-Callière
[email protected]

Media contact :

Stéphanie Culakowa
Principal Advisor, RuGicomm
Cell : 514-245-1417 / [email protected]