Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Museum of American Glass

I met my sister Judy in Weston, WV this past week, to finally exchange Christmas gifts (a little late!) and just visit.

Where did we do our visiting? At the West Virginia Museum of American Glass! This beautiful and fairly new museum is located in the heart of Weston and is thriving. They have paid off their building and have started a campaign to expand. New donations come in regularly; donors of collections also donate the cases to house the collection. Recently a woman from Washington state donated her entire, large collection of sherbet dishes. She drove the collection across the country, paid for the case and stayed to help with the arrangement of the collection! Hers is one of many stories the museum represents. While we were there a gentleman came in to donate scale models of a plate glass making operation.


There is a lot to see in the museum from the large mural donated by another museum to the marble collection, glass making equipment, and aisles and aisles of beautiful glass. If you have a piece and wondered when it was made and by what company, this is the place to find that information. If the piece isn't on display, the friendly, knowledgeable staff might be able to identify it. And if they can't there is a reference library lined with books.



We browsed slowly along the aisles. I was thrilled to finally identify a butter dish I had as being made by the Cooperative Flint Company in the 1880's. My dish had no lid but I loved it for its design. Judy saw a plate like one she had at home and was astonished to find it was also made in the 1880's.

We spent a lot of time in the museum's store. Not only do they have many books for sale, they also sell glass! Dean Six, a museum staff member and author of several books on antique and vintage glass, told us that the museum sells duplicate pieces or pieces that were not made in America as a way to raise funds. We were lucky enough to be there on a sale day, and bought several pieces for only $1 each.

In the sales area is also a collection of mis-matched lids. The collection included older and newer, some vaseline glass and colored glass, tops to sugar bowls, casseroles, butter dishes, etc. And would you believe, my sister found a lid that matched my dish! What are the odds on that happening? Very slim, I would say.

This pattern is called Budded Ivy, or Ivy in Snow, I suppose because of the stippled effect on the glass. I am learning a lot about Early American Pattern Glass and learning to recognize it when I see it. The glass looks different--I'm not sure how to describe the difference, but it stands out to me now. It's surprising that there is so much out there still in thrift shops; I suppose unless you happen to know its age, glass just looks like glass?

The Museum identified the lid as a "honey dish lid" and it could be that what I have is not a butter dish but a honey dish. I don't know the difference in the two, so I still have more to learn about this piece. And a whole, whole lot to learn about glass in general. It's a fascinating study. When I got home, I went online and ordered several more glass books, adding to my very slim library. I expect I'll be back at the museum soon, with pictures of all the pieces I can't identify.

9 comments:

Nanjemoy Nana said...

Oooooo I love this study of glass. I don't know why but all of us girls love glass. Lizzy could be of good use in this too. She's learning a lot as well. Y'all could trade information. :)

Granny Sue said...

True, Maggie. Living in WV where there have been 450+ glass companies over the years, there is so much to learn. Liz and I need to trade notes :)

Rowan said...

Sounds an interesting museum and what luck finding a lid to your dish!

Amy said...

$1.00 at a museum? I would say you truly hit sale day!

Janet, said...

I'll have to make a point of visiting there some day.

Granny Sue said...

Indeed I did, Amy :)

And Janet, you'd love it, esp with all the things you've collected.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

Looks an interesting place to visit. Amazing to find a matching lid! Have a good week, Sue.

Granny Sue said...

Thanks, John, You do the same :)

Marie said...

I have ALWAYS wanted to go to that museum! Wow, you tell a lot about what is on display here in your post, and it is very informative! I can't believe you found that lid to your dish! How wonderful! I know you had an absolutely awesome time! Keep an eye out for a pattern glass post I plan to do this week.

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