Newton 'Hairdentity' Exhibit Displays History, Cultural Backgrounds Of Hair

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NEWTON, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — A museum in Newton is celebrating the history of hair and the different styles that cultures have fashioned through the years.

The Jackson Homestead and Museum launched their exhibit "HAIRdentity" to explore how people wore their hair and what it meant between 1840 and 1980. The museum says the spectacle shows how hairstyles reflect fashion trends through the display of artifacts and photos from the Historic Newton's collection.

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But Museum Director Lisa Dady wants visitors know that hair is not just a trend.

"We use it to express ourselves, and even people who don't do anything with their hair- like me, I'm still saying something like I don't care about my hair," Dady said.

Dady says that hair stereotypes are beginning to fade as we enter the 21st century, especially when it comes to black hair.

"For centuries white hair has been considered the norm by which you compare everything else to. Fortunately we have a new Supreme Court Justice who has sister locks, and so we've come a long way, but we're not all the way there yet," Dady said.

The Crown Act, passed in March, adds to the progress as it prohibits race-based hair discrimination in both Commonwealth workplace and education environments. In past years, the museum said that black hair was typically considered "ugly" or "unprofessional." But with representation in the Supreme Court, and legislation passed in the State House, that notion could not be more retired.

WBZ's Suzanne Sausville (@wbzSausville) reports.

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