Hair Museum (Pels Museum)

Hair Museum (Pels Museum)

Inaugurated in 2006, the Museo dei Pels (or hair museum) in Elva preserves the memory of a unique trade born in the mountains of the Maira Valley, that of the hair collectors.

The museum tells the story of how the people of Elba, at a time when life offered them little or nothing, found a way to improve their condition by inventing an ingenious trade: the hair-pickers.

Their unique activity consisted in collecting and sorting hair. The Pelassiers would leave Elva in early autumn, when the farm work was finished, and go wherever they could find a woman or girl willing to give up her hair in exchange for a few lira, a piece of cloth or a scarf.

When real braids were scarce, they also made do with hair from combs. Enclosing all the harvest in large sacks, they took them to Elva. Here, the women washed, combed and braided them into plaits that were put out to dry. It was a valuable raw material, essential for making wigs, and was traded on foreign markets.

The museum tells the stories of this itinerant trade, the memory of a community that was able to identify a viable alternative to poverty and pursued it with ingenuity.

A source of inspiration that you should definitely visit!

  • How to visit the site

    The “Pels Museum” (Elva Borgata Serre-Capital town)   OPEN in the month of MAY on FRIDAY, on SATURDAY and the Sunday from 10.30 to 12.30 from 3.00 pm to 5.30 pm extraordinary opening 01 all day   extraordinary openings to be agreed upon reasonable advance notice   for further information 340/9846508

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