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UN/COVERINGS exhibit2 min read

Dec 14, 2021 2 min

UN/COVERINGS exhibit2 min read

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Known throughout Waterloo Region as a catalyst for bringing our Region’s history to life, Schneider Haus Historic Site is on a mission to explore and promote new kinds of stories, facilitate dynamic experiences and engage diverse members of our community.

Think, old Haus, new stories

UN/COVERINGS, Mennonite & Muslim Women’s Heads and Hearts is its newly opened exhibition.

A product of a collaboration between Dr. Laura Morlock, lecturer at Ryerson’s School of Fashion, and Dr. Cristina Moreno-Almeida, Postdoctoral Fellow at King’s College London, UN/COVERINGS is a multimedia, fashion-based installation that invites visitors to challenge their own biases and stereotypes around religious head coverings.

Rather than a commentary on what Muslim or Mennonite women should or should not wear, the exhibit promotes conversation and explores important cultural themes. While both Mennonites and Muslims have a tradition of covering, their coverings are ‘read’ very differently.

It also encourages new perspectives and candid conversations. As visitors move throughout the exhibit, they’ll gain exposure to different varieties amongst items that only seem to be the same, and will appreciate how many women who practice modest dress express personal preferences in their clothing.

“Mennonite and Muslim women represent so much diversity and complexity. Their identities are as creative as the clothes they wear,” explained co-curator Laura Morlock. “Visitors will challenge themselves to look beyond what they think they know and ask questions like, ‘Why do Muslim head coverings cause such visceral reactions? Do Mennonite bonnets provoke the same response? And when the vast majority of both North American Mennonite and Muslim women don’t veil at all, why do these head coverings receive so much (and such different) public attention?’”

“This exhibit was about a year in the making,” said Antoinette Duplessis, Head of Content & Experience at Schneider Haus. “For many years, we’ve wanted to create a Mennonite head covering exhibit, and we invited Laura to work on it. Given her studies in religious dress, the idea quickly evolved to include Muslim head coverings – a fabulous idea! Laura, who is Mennonite, recruited her colleague Cristina, who is Muslim, and the result is a truly dynamic, visually stunning experience. As Laura and Cristina say, ‘If you think you know these women, just wait. UN/COVERINGS turns stereotypes on their head.’” 

UN/COVERINGS is on display now at Schneider Haus Historic Site until May 2022. For more information visit