Pointe-à-Callière presents


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

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.


20th century. Gazelle Peninsula, New Britain, Papua New Guinea. Gunantuna population (Tolai).
© Musée des Confluences collection – The Antoine de Galbert donation (Lyon, France). Photo: Pierre-Olivier Deschamps

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


Early 20th century. Island of Borneo, Indonesia and Malaysia. Dayak population.
© Musée des Confluences collection – The Antoine de Galbert donation (Lyon, France). Photo: Pierre-Olivier Deschamps

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!

For opening hours and tickets visit: www.pacmusee.qc.ca