German Hat Museum, Lindenberg im Allgäu, Germany

The German Hat Museum Lindenberg (Deutsches Hutmuseum Lindenberg) Allgäu is a museum on the cultural history of the hat. The Lindenberger Hutmuseum gives an insight into the centuries-old Huttradition the city of Lindenberg. This goes back to the 16th century.

At the German Hat Museum Lindenberg visitors can get a glimpse of the hat history. Walk through 300 years of hat fashion and discover familiar, interesting and curious about the topic of headgear. Participants are invited to try out and stow away. Immerse yourself in the history of the creation of a hat with the industrious homeworkers, courageous hatters and powerful manufacturers. The women and men in Lindenberg produced around four million straw hats around 1900. The whole world was wearing hats from Lindenberg. The “Little Paris” of the hat fashion lay in the midst of the tranquil Allgäu. In one of the largest hat factories of the time, the former hat factory Ottmar Reich, you will find the German Hut Museum.

History:
Since the beginning of the 17th century straw hats were made at home in Lindenberg. The technical knowledge for Hutherstellung had horse traders from Italy in the village in the Allgäu conveyed. From the mid-17th century, the sale of hats from Lindenberg in markets has been handed down. In the year 1755 the hat company, which took over the marketing of the hats for the homeworkers.

Unique is the history of hat making. It has actually made Lindenberg what it is today. Starting with the horse trade and crafting in families and micro-enterprises, the center of the German straw hat industry is created in the Westallgäu. Growth and prosperity, worldwide renown follow. The hat museum takes up this theme. Hans Stiefenhofer and Manfred Röhrl have collected the probably most important collection of hat culture in several decades. It takes space and an authentic place, which was created with the opening of the German Hut Museum Lindenberg in the rooms of the former hat factory Ottmar Reich.

In December 2014, the new German Hut Museum Lindenberg was officially opened and the following year it was awarded the Bavarian Museum Prize 2015. The conversion of the industrial monument in a museum took two years and cost about 10 million euros, which were financed by two-thirds of funds from the European Union and one-third with funds from the federal government and the Bavarian government. The museum itself is located in the main building of the former hat factory, whereas in the old boiler house at the 28 meter high brick chimney a restaurant was set up. The basis of the exhibits goes back to the collections of the opened in 1981 and closed on October 27, 2013 City Hut Museum Lindenberg.

On an exhibition area of almost 1000 m², hats, hat presses, blanks and many other exhibits on the history of hat fashion from three centuries are shown. At the center of the exhibition stands the plastic “Huttornado” composed of white hat casts. The exhibition is divided into the three themes of hat making, hat fashion and the history of the city of Lindenberg as a center of hatmaking.

At that time Lindenberg lived from the horse trade with Italy. One of these horse traders, according to tradition, had to overwinter because of illness in Italy. During his involuntary stay in the south, he watched straw weaving and herding and brought this knowledge to Lindenberg. In the beginning, the hats were made only for their own use, but from 1755 began to organize the distribution and production. The first hat factories were founded in the Biedermeier period around 1830; until 1890 there were already 34 straw hat manufacturers. They produced about 8 million straw hats a year. Not surprisingly, then, that Lindenberg at the beginning of the 20th century was considered the center of the German men’s straw hat industry and the “Little Paris” was called the hat fashion. At that time, in 1914, the former market Lindenberg was raised to the city.

At the beginning of the 19th century, around 300 Lindenberg families worked in the hatmaking industry. In 1835, the first large hat factory was built in place. For the men’s fashion, the so-called circular saw was made, for women Florentine hats and bell hats were made. Soon there were not enough raw materials available for hat production in the nearby region, which is why they had to be partially imported from China, as a postcard sent to Lindenberg by a local overseer on the production of braids from the late 19th century proves ]

In the first half of the 20th century, Lindenberg produced a total of eight million hats a year in 34 different companies, which earned the city the epithets or epithets “Hat Capital of Europe” and “Little Paris”. Hats from Lindenberg not only found sales in Europe but also in the US and South America.

In the 1920s, however, the straw hat industry is experiencing a crisis and the companies are trying to counteract with felt, leather, dralon and fur over the next few decades, which succeeds. But then comes with the 60s and 70s, an increasingly hatless fashion. It forces long-established companies to discontinue their production. The hat industry loses its primary position in Lindenberg economic life. Today there is only one well-known hat factory on the site: the company Mayser GmbH & Co.KG.

After the First World War, the decline of the straw hat production began because the main product, the circular saw, had gone out of fashion. A certain compensation brought the conversion to the production of felt hats. After the hat lost more and more importance as a piece of clothing in the 1960s, most Lindenberg companies had to cease operations. Since 1997, only a single hat factory in the village maintained its operation, but also closed its doors in 2010.

The hat museum reminds of this time, in which lie the origins of today’s Lindenberg. In addition, the many steps are modeled using original equipment and machines. The various styles of the past centuries show countless hat models from all eras.

Today, in addition to the German Hut Museum Lindenberg still remember the annual Huttag and the election of a queen of hats to the former great economic importance of hat production for the city.

The museum won the Bavarian Museum Prize in 2015.

Exhibition:
German Hat Museum Lindenberg permanent exhibition tells of hard-working homeworkers, courageous traders and powerful manufacturers who have made Lindenberg the “little Paris” of hat fashion. Hut manufacture, Hutstadt Lindenberg and Hutmode are then the three themes that are shown on almost 1000 square meters of accessible area – and this is always accompanied by the matching hat from the extensive collection.

On two levels, theme islands or showcases are arranged chronologically around a central installation. The focal point of the first exhibition level is the factory shelf: a glass, walk-in cube that illustrates the technical manufacturing processes of hat making. Its walls are made of “intelligent” glass, whose transparency can be transformed from transparent to milky – creating a room-high production area on the inside. Here the emergence of a hat is cinematically visualized. The pictures were taken at the Lindenberg company Mayser and the hat factory Seeberger in the neighboring village of Weiler.

An art installation by Anja Luithle, the Huttornado, welcomes the visitor on the 4th floor. White hats in generous ellipses swirl from floor to ceiling on six dark steel bars. The different replicas of striking hat shapes draw the viewer into the varied cultural history of the hat of the last 300 years. Facing the Huttornado, large-format photographs and pictures show the temporal context and thus shape the spatial picture. They revive the changing fashion trends and complement the productions and exhibits in the showcases. The result is a cross-section of the fashionable development of the hat, both in terms of its regional context and in the international fashion scene of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Depending on the position and viewing angle, there are different emphases and surprising visual references. Structurally, the Huttornado is just above the factory shelf in the plane below him. The hats swirl so symbolically directly out of production and land in their respective time.

Walk through 300 years of hat fashion and discover familiar, interesting and curious things around the subject of headgear. Participating stations invite you to try out and be amazed. With us you can try to your heart’s content hats and find out under which hat you fit. Experience the fascinating craft of the hatters in our “factory cinema” and discover in our “Huttornado” famous and famous hat wearer.

The focus of our stories are the people: diligent homeworker, courageous merchants and powerful manufacturers. More than four million straw hats were produced by women and men around 1900. The whole world wore hats from Lindenberg. The “little Paris” of the hat fashion was located in the tranquil Allgäu.In one of the largest hat factories of the time, the former hat factory Ottmar Reich, you will find today the German Hat Museum.

Hat making, hat fashion and hat city – on almost 1000 square meters of accessible area, we show you three varied topics and always the right hat from our collection. A hat museum of this type and size is unique in Germany.

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