Sunday, February 5, 2012
The Museum of American Glass
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.
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.
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.