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Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum opens to big response

| Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Marilyn Forbes | for the Daily Courier
Museum board members Harley Trice (left) and Anne Madarasz enjoy a glass of punch from a vintage L.E. Smith punch bowl.
Barbara Denning | For The Mt. Pleasant Journal
Diane Elliot, traveled from her home in College Park, Md., to Sunday's open house at the Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum, examines glassware at the Mt. Pleasant Township facility.
Barbara Denning | For The Mt. Pleasant Journal
Attending the Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum open house on Sunday are (from left) Dave Ferry and his wife, Sheryl, of Murrysville, and museum board of directors member and volunteer docent Sharon Hribal of Scottdale.
Barbara Denning | For The Mt. Pleasant Journal
Joe Chojnacki of Connellsville examines the L.E. Smith Company's 1930s black glassware exhibit during the open house Sunday at the Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum. Photo taken on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013
A.J. Panian | The Mt. Pleasant Journal
Master glass cutter Peter O'Rourke, who has leased 1,200 square-feet of space for use by the museum at his business, O'Rourke Antique Glass & Gifts, talks with Jessica Kadie-Barclay, managing director at West Overton Village & Museums, at the facility at the Mt. Pleasant Glass Center. Photo taken on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013
A.J. Panian | The Mt. Pleasant Journal
Harley N. Trice (left), a member of the museum’s board of directors and the great-great grandson of James Bryce, the founder of Bryce Brothers Glass Co., talks with Forrest Kastner, L.E. Smith Glass Co. plant manager from 1978 until his retirement in 2000, at the grand opening event. Photo taken on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013
A.J. Panian | The Mt. Pleasant Journal
Mt. Pleasant Borough Council President Joe Bauer examines an exhibit showcasing L.E. Smith black glass at the museum's grand opening event.
A.J. Panian | The Mt. Pleasant Journal
Mike Reese Jr., 5, of Mt. Pleasant learns about the art of glassmaking while visiting the Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum with his father, State Rep. Mike Reese, R-Mt. Pleasant Township.

For decades, names like L.E. Smith Glass, Lenox Crystal and Bryce Brothers were commonplace in Mt. Pleasant, the borough that grew famous through these glass factories, where products were made which graced tables from local homes to the White House.

The craftsmanship and skill displayed by the hundreds of workers who passed through the doors of those companies remain evident in the products produced.

Now many of those products have a permanent location for all to enjoy — the Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum, located at the Mt. Pleasant Glass Center in Mt. Pleasant Township, the site of the former Lenox plant.

“This is really just the beginning,” said Cassandra Vivian, executive director of the museum, a nonprofit organization. “The temporary site was so successful that we found we needed to find a more permanent facility.”

The museum is now located within 1,200 square feet of space leased by master glass cutter Peter O'Rourke, proprietor of O'Rourke Antique Glass & Gifts located at 402 E. Main St., Suite 600.

Vivian has been the driving force behind the museum, working for more than a year to put together impressive collections to represent the glass factories around the museum's perimeter.

“We have a section for each,” Vivian said. “Those three will be permanent displays, and the displays that we have in the center will change. We would like to rotate those three times a year.”

The museum opening was held Nov. 14 with a private reception that welcomed local officials and citizens for firsthand glimpse.

“I think this is just beautiful,” Mt. Pleasant Borough Manager Jeff Landy said. “This really looks like a real museum. It's great.”

Several glass museum board members at the reception also lauded the look of the new facility.

“I think it's great to see that this glass and the history are being appreciated,” said Anne Madarasz, a board member who also serves as the museum division director at the Sen. John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh and director of the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum at the center.

“It is fitting the museum should be located in a place that actually made the glass in a town that created so much history,” she said.

Fellow board member Harley N. Trice, the great-great-grandson of James Bryce, the founder of Bryce Brothers Company Inc., said he feels the location is perfect.

O'Rourke added, “This is where it ought to be. This is a great location and we are so thankful for all of the support that we have received.”

The museum will be open from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Other events which kicked off the opening weekend included a tour on Saturday for members of regional glass clubs, and an open house for the public on Sunday.

The museum is presently accepting membership applications for 2014.

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.