Museums Keep the Memories of U.S. Glass Companies

A few weeks ago we learned that the West Virginia Museum of American Glass was moving into a new home in Weston, W.Va. Weston was the home of West Virginia Specialty Glass and Louie Glass (which made Princess House) when I visited on a glass plant trip in the 1980s. Both of these plants are now closed. The Museum has an interesting glass collection, and has held Glass History conferences in the Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia area for more than ten years.

Many of the “hand” plants that made ashtrays, dishes, platters and many other kinds of decorative glass flourished in the Ohio River Valley area before economic conditions hit the industry.

Those who like to remember the history of glass in the United States have many places to go to see the things that were made in the era of skilled glassblowers and decorators.

The Wheaton Museum of American Glass has a glass shop where I made my first (and last) piece of hot glass many years ago on another glass plant trip. I will never forget how heavy the blowpipe was!

Glass museums in the eastern half of the United States tend to focus on the products of the commercial glass operations that used to be in each area. The Heinz Center has a complete set of our Glass Factory Directories through 1990, and a great collection of Pittsburgh glass. The Corning Museum of Glass has an extensive collection of American glass from American factories and glass made by glass artists.

If you live in the eastern half of the United States, there is likely a glass museum not far from you, an interesting place to visit whether you collect glass or just admire it.

Let me know what glass museums you have visited!

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2 Responses to “Museums Keep the Memories of U.S. Glass Companies”

  1. David Adams Says:

    Here are several glass museums that are worth visiting:
    1. National Museum of Cambridge Glass, Cambridge, Ohio
    2. Fenton Art Glass Company (museum on site), Williamstown, WV
    3. Heisey Museum, Newark, Ohio
    4. Historical Glass Museum, Redlands, California
    All of the above have web sites – do a Google search to find them.

    Other glass museums exist as well, but I don’t currently have all the addresses. If you are interested, contact me and I’ll do some digging. The National Depression Glass Association is in the process of planning a museum, but no firm decision has been made on location.

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