The John W. Rawlings Heritage Center & Museum is proud to announce their summer exhibit – HATS, HATS, and MORE HATS – a fabulous display of Joan Kinsley’s collection of more than 100 hats and her photographs of Bent County residents wearing hats. We are also featuring Tom Pointon’s photo collage of the “People of Bent County,” that he has collected over the years.

Joan came to Bent County in 2001 with her husband, Bud Kinsley, who was a Bent County native. Even though she lost Bud in 2008, Joan has continued to enjoy living here and has become a well-known photographer and artist.

Joan says people in hats were always a draw for her and her camera. Joan started taking photographs in high school for the Woodland Park “Panther Tracks,” and this was the beginning of Joan’s photographing-people-wearing-hats journey.

The photography collection on display is a collection of photographs of local Bent County residents Joan has had the pleasure of photographing. The hat collection includes over 100 hats of Joan’s mother, Betty Arfsten Burns, who started collecting hats at an early age when a woman never left the house without a hat.

Betty was always happiest when adorned with a new hat. She always said, “A great hat can dictate your attitude, giving joy and much happiness to an otherwise ordinary dreary day.” Sadly, Betty had a stroke and passed away in 2014, but her hats live on through her family and her wonderful hat attitude.

Tom Pointon is a well-known rancher, former Bent County Commissioner, and former president of the Bent County Historical Society, just to mention a few accomplishments. Tom always enjoyed taking photographs of people and would catch you in the grocery store, restaurant, or about town and snap your photo. His collection of over 800 photos is quite the accomplishment.

Come and enjoy this exhibit opening on June 9 with our tea party (wear your hat!) to kick off this special exhibit from 2 – 4 p.m. Wear your old-fashioned dress or suit if you wish, have some fun, win door prizes and drawings, and get your photo taken and printed by the Bent County Art Guild.

Light refreshments will be served with tea. Men are more than welcome, too. We hope you come and enjoy our exhibit, “Hats, Hats, and More Hats” and learn more about this incredible lady, Betty, and enjoy the photographs.