Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum pursues incorporation, nonprofit status
What began as an idea to establish a glass museum in Mt. Pleasant took another step recently with the planned creation of an organization set on making that idea a reality.
Cassandra Vivian, a member of the Mt. Pleasant Area Cultural Trust, conducted the first meeting Saturday in her new role as president of the board of directors of the evolving Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum.
“Our main focus, besides getting members, is to acquire our corporate identity and our 501(c)3 status and begin planning our first year of lectures, exhibits and events,” Vivian said.
The attorney representing the group in its pursuit of corporate and nonprofit certifications is John M. O'Connell Jr. of the O'Connell & Silvis law firm in Greensburg, Vivian said.
The organization is designed to document the histories of Bryce Brothers, L.E. Smith and Lenox glass companies.
Along with Vivian, there are four other individuals who are serving as members of the board of directors of the burgeoning entity — Anne Madarasz, Harley Trice, Cindy Stevenson and Kathleen M. Comini.
Vivian — a historian, writer and photographer — possesses a vast array of experience and knowledge which she said she looks forward to sharing to help build the organization.
In addition to her duties as president, she will also head up the organization's public relations committee, which is responsible for all newsletters, news articles and promotions.
Vivan said the other board members were also chosen for their knowledge and experience.
“We chose each member carefully and to suit our needs,” she said.
Madarasz is museum division director for the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, a regional showcase for Western Pennsylvania artifacts.
In addition, Madarasz has been published in multiple publications and has received a number of awards, including the Richards Foundation Grant for Glass Research bestowed by The Corning Museum of Glass and The Richards Foundation in 1999.
Madarasz said that, due to her extensive work on the exhibit called “Glass: Shattering Notions” at the Heinz History Center, she has a vast knowledge of glass history in the region. She said she is looking forward to serving on the board.
“I am always glad to see that story showed. I think glass can often be the area's forgotten industry and we want to support museums in the region that are supporting local history,” she said.
Madarasz will oversee the organization's acquisitions and collections committee, which will be responsible for acquisition, preservation, storage, security, cataloging, displays, donations, loans and inventory.
Trice, a Pittsburgh resident, is the great great grandson of James Bryce, the founder of Bryce Brothers Company Inc., which manufactured hand-blown glass in Mt. Pleasant from 1896 to 1965.
He has loaned and given the group a number of items from his personal collection for the glass exhibit which the cultural trust established in November at the In-Town Shops along Main Street in the borough.
“I was willing to become a board member because I believe in the project, and because I think I can make a contribution to its success,” Trice said. “That the project is moving forward from an idea to reality means that our vision has support from both our wonderful volunteers and the Mt. Pleasant community.”
Trice will oversee the organization's resource development committee, which will seek funds, write grants, seek corporate sponsors, personal contributions, in-kind services and sponsors for fundraising events.
Comini, who has worked in the banking industry since 1982, will serve as treasurer for the organization.
Since 2003, she has served as branch manager of Standard Bank in Mt. Pleasant.
In addition to her treasurer duties, Comini will also head up the organization's membership committee, which will encourage membership, keep the records, report records monthly to the board, handle the finances of membership and donations and conduct an annual membership drive.
Stevenson, a borough resident and member of borough council, will serve as the organization's secretary.
She will also oversee the organization's facilities and property committee which will assist staff, officers and directors with acquisition and maintenance of corporate properties and facilities, conduct a yearly inventory, recommend leases, licenses and insurance.
The glass exhibit served to gauge public interest in the prospect of a permanent glass museum in the town with such a rich heritage in the industry, Vivian said.
“What began as a six-week exhibit has established itself as a tribute to the three glass factories that existed in the small community for over a hundred years,” she said. “Because the support has been so positive, the dream of a museum is becoming a reality.”
Linda Harkcom is a freelance writer.