The story of the Hat Museum began many years ago when J. Alyce decided to make her collection available to the public for private tours. She had been a hat fancier most of her life and an avid collector.
She opened her hat museum over 10 years ago. I had been her friend for at least 20 years and started working with her as a volunteer in the positions of assistant director and hat sleuth for the past 6 years.
We went on wild adventures over the years to acquire many of the hats you will see in the museum today. Over the years, Alyce had asked me if I would like to continue the hat museum come the day she was no longer with us. As I appreciated the incredible collection she had acquired and knew it would need a steward in the future, I agreed.
It was with much sadness that the day arrived, sooner than we expected, to hand off the reigns of managing the Nation Hat Museum. Alyce passed away in the summer of 2017. She leaves behind a wonderful legacy of accomplishments. She was a highly demanded public speaker, having spoken in all fifty states and thirty foreign countries for such companies as Boeing, Microsoft, The New York Times and had even been pulled out of retirement by the Pentagon to speak at Dover Airbase. She was an author of nine books, one of which was optioned by Warner Brothers. She even made a trans-American trip in a topless, open-cockpit roaster, writing a book about her experiences driving across our vast country.
She taught me so many things and was an inspiration as to how to live your life to the fullest.
So, I carry on my mentor’s work, ushering this hat collection into the future by sharing its wealth of information with others.
Hats off to a wonderful friend and mentor!
~ Lu Ann Trotebas - Director, National Hat Museum