Expert to speak at Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum
A nationally recognized expert in the history of the glass industry will speak at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum Inc.
Anne Madarasz, a museum board member, will present “From the Everyday to the Extraordinary — Pittsburgh Glass, 1797-Present” at the museum located at 537 W. Main St. in the borough.
“We are dealing with someone who is nationally known,” said Cassandra Vivian, the president of the museum's board of directors. “I am thrilled, for one, that she is part of our board and that she is willing to come out here — for it is quite a drive — to speak with us.”
Madarasz is the museum division director and director of the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum at the Sen. John Heinz History Center, where she's worked since 1992. Madarasz said the presentation will put Mt. Pleasant's former glass factories in context with the development of glass throughout Western Pennsylvania.
“I don't think most people know this, but more glass was made here, in Western Pennsylvania, from 1840 to the 1950s than anywhere else in the country,” Madarasz said. “People know this as the steel-making center, which it was, but it was also the glass-making capital of the nation, and I'm going to talk about giving glass its due in importance.”
As part of her presentation, Madarasz will display slides with photos of the history center's exhibit of the corporate collection from Lenox Glass, which also includes Bryce Brothers glassware.
“I will touch on things that are in the history center's collection and how it relates to this story,” she said.
Cindy Stevenson, secretary of the glass museum's board of directors, said she is looking forward to hearing Madarasz's presentation.
“I am most looking forward to the opportunity to learn more about how glass-making helped the early town of Mt. Pleasant to prosper,” Stevenson said. “It's a rare opportunity to hear someone of her caliber talk in Mt. Pleasant.”
Madarasz earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in sociology and psychology from Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., and she completed coursework for a Ph.D. in American Civilization at the University of Pennsylvania.
She served as project director and curator for “Glass: Shattering Notions,” an exhibit at the Heinz center, and authored the accompanying catalog. She was awarded a Richards Fellowship for research from the Corning Museum of Glass, and lectures and writes frequently on the subject of Pittsburgh glass, regional industry and the history of Pittsburgh sports.
Madarasz also oversaw the research and design of the exhibit “Pittsburgh: A Tradition of Innovation,” which opened at the history center in November 2008.
She is also responsible for implementing the strategic plan for the 18,500-square-foot center, coordinating events, programming and marketing, as well as changing exhibits with other divisions of the facility. She is the author of “Memory & Artifact: A Love Etched in Time,” a piece appearing in a 1999 edition of Western Pennsylvania History — a journal published by the history center.
There will be a $2 donation to the museum collected at the door to aid in the museum's operation, Vivian said.
The talk will be one of many events to come at the museum, she said.
“We will try to have at least two events each month and, as we get going, we hope to have even more,” Vivian said.
Linda Harkcom is a freelance writer.