“The Global Language of Headwear: Cultural Identity, Rites of Passage, and Spirituality” presents 89 hats and headdresses carefully selected from a private collection of more than 1,300 extraordinary pieces of international headwear. This exhibition is in its first stop on a four-year national tour. The show features hats from 42 countries across Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and North and South America, and is a tribute to the stunning diversity of the world’s cultures. With a few exceptions, the pieces are from the mid-to-late 20th century, and many are still worn today in parts of the world for revelry, ritual, and the rhythms of everyday life. More than utilitarian objects of material culture, each hat is a unique work of art—not merely because of the skill required to make it, but also as a singular expression of creativity and cultural meaning. “The Global Language of Headwear” is organized into five thematic sections: Cultural Identity; Power; Prestige and Status; Ceremonies and Celebrations; Spiritual Beliefs; and Protection. Hats and headdresses communicate timeless ideas—not only of beauty, but also of what it means to be human. The exhibition will be on view until December 31.

“Louisiana Illustrators” is also on view and includes 100 illustrations from children’s books published in Lake Charles by Ally-Gator Book Bites, an independent publishing company owned by Tommie Townsley. Featured artists include Candice Alexander, Mickey Asche, Robbie Austin, Tim Banfell, David Bertrand, Erin Casteel, Lydia Crochet, Anne Dentler, Mary Beth Hebert, Gregory LeBlanc, Beatriz McDonald, Kathern Peal, Mickey Smith, Jr., Rebecca Stelly and Paula Windham.

Historic City Hall is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free. Charlestown Farmers’ Market is open on Bilbo Street behind the center every Saturday 8 a.m. to noon. For more information, please call 491-9147 or visit www.cityoflakecharles.com.