The Hairdresser’s Museum

When the museum was decorated, people were pleasantly surprised that hairdresser Theo Kleeven from Horst made an offer to place his museum hairdressing collection at De Locht! There was no room for this at the Antiquities Room in Horst. The Locht Open Air Museum found a suitable space in the attic to house the entire collection.

Hairdresser’s Pole

At the entrance to the hairdressing museum hangs a barber’s pole, a type of sign that hairdressers and barbers used in the street, to make their barbershop known. This custom dates back to the Middle Ages. The red and white stripes indicated that the barber was also a surgeon and was allowed to perform minor surgical procedures, such as bloodletting and tooth extraction.

Different reactions

Admiring glances are mainly drawn to the display case with precious porcelain shaving basins, elegant atomizers for a nice smell and other hairdressing supplies such as shaving utensils, curling irons, clippers, etc.

For men with moustaches, there are the so-called moustache cups. Cups with a “tray” at the top, on which the moustache rests when drinking, so that it does not hang directly in the coffee! By the way, men went to the hairdresser more often than women. Those who could afford it regularly went to the barber to have their beard shaved, and the latest news was exchanged!

Kleeven’s inventory also includes the special barber’s cabinet with large mirror and various paintings depicting barber scenes. And also a few chairs and table with the newspaper on it by the stove, where some customers came to read the daily news.

The stove was not only used for heating, the hairdresser also had to have access to hot water at all times, there was always a small kettle with water ready.

Some people, mostly women, are very charmed by the “nice” cupboard in the corner, with those many cozy drawers, not knowing what they were once for! For a long time there was a nasty, very contagious skin disease, scabies, accompanied by severe itching and skin rashes. That’s why every customer had their own shaving equipment in their own numbered drawer.


Many hairdressers also sold tobacco products, such as cigars, cigarettes, chewing tobacco and roll-your-own cigarettes. People could roll their own cigarettes from the tobacco, which was cheaper than buying packs of cigarettes. That’s why the wall cabinet with the many different cigarette brands evokes many memories. Everyone wants to know if his or her former favorite brand is also listed.

Electric Chair

For some children, the hairdressing museum does not come across as friendly. Those hair dryers and scary perm devices, full of clamps and cords, make them shudder a bit and rather reminiscent of a torture chamber, which it sometimes was!

I remember how my mother came back from the hairdresser after she had had the hair done. To perm, the hairs were moistened with a smelly ammonia liquid, after which the curlers, which were already electrically heated at the time, were tightly intricated. Severe headaches, a red neck and sometimes burnt ears were the result! The curls were successful, but it didn’t look like my mother anymore, with that frizzy head!

A leather strap hangs from the back of the barber’s chair to sharpen the razors. But one little boy saw it differently: “Gee, that’s the electric chair and then it was secured with it!” he shouted, pointing to the belt!

Nellie Lenssen