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Tony Kendall

Body Reflections
448 S. Maple St.
French Lick,IN 47432

Tel. 812.936.4064


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Museum Hours

Tuesdays - Fridays, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Admission is free.

Click here to view the Online Museum

A Walk Through Hair Styling History

click images for more detail

It's easy to take cordless curling irons, 45-minute permanents and portable hair dryers for granted. But to see just how far the cosmetology industry has come, pay a visit to Tony Kendall's Wild Hair Museum - the only one of its kind in the world. This highly unusual museum is located inside of his beauty salon, BodyHair Museum Display Reflections, in the small resort town of French Lick, Indiana. (French Lick is 105 miles southwest of Indianapolis.)

An unusual collection of vintage razors, shears, combs, hairbrushes, hair tonics, permanent-wave machines and, of course, even hair, are displayed in cases and on wall-to-wall shelves within the salon


Two of Mr. Kendall's prized possessions are an Elvis Presley Hairauthenticated lock of Elvis Presley's hair and a framed antique hair wreath.


"That wreath couldn't be mad today; it's a lost art," says Mr. Kendall about the hair wreath that dates back to Civil War times. Locks, from generations of the same Indiana family, are woven into an open-ended wreath of perfectly shaped flowers. Each flower represents an individual. These family heirlooms were once quite common. But during a plague scare in the early 1900s. People worried that the disease could be passed on through these Hair wreath from the civil war erawreath, so families burned them, says Mr. Kendall. Today, they are very rare.


The 'enthusiastic' cosmetologist has collected hair styling-related antiques from every state except Hawaii. Some "treasures" were given to him. In more recent years, he's been able to purchase items over the Internet. "I've had to calm down a bit because I'm running out of space," he admits. Mr. Kendall can easily trace the evolution of cosmetology through advances in such inventions as the curling iron. For example, side-by-side on a shelf are relics heated by kerosene, gaslight and finally, electricity.


"I love this business," he says. "And I'm dedicated to every aspect of it."


That's why, he adds, it' important to not only collect and preserve pieces of cosmetology history, but make them readily available to the public.


Mr. Kendall never considered being anything other than a cosmetologist. In some ways his fate was sealed from birth. I was named Tony after the Toni home permanent," he acknowledges. "I can't fix a car or build a houses, but I can cut hair."


While hair care has changed dramatically over the years, one thing remains as true today as it was hundreds of years ago, he maintains. "Women still battle over what to do with their hair."


To draw people to his museum, every fall Mr. Kendall sponsors an annual Hair & Trade Show in French Lick. He's also a member of Hair Museum cprner Displaythe Indiana Board of Cosmetology Examiners and Director, Region 2, of the National Interstate Council of State Boards (NIC).

Adds Mr. Kendall: "My life revolves around hair."

--Educator 2, Summer 2001


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