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Board of directors grows to 7 at Mt. Pleasant museum

| Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 9:01 p.m.

Support for the Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum is growing where it counts most — in leadership, according to Cassandra Vivian, the nonprofit organization's executive director.

The museum's board of directors recently expanded to include three additional members — Forrest Kastner, John Potts and Diane Lucia — bringing its total number to seven.

They join Vivian, along with other board members Elizabeth Barsotti, Anne Madarasz and Harley N. Trice.

“We have such a strong board now,” said Vivian of the expanded board, which held its first meeting under its new formation on April 1.

“Very few museums have on their boards people who actually managed glass factories and who worked there, and we have such an opportunity here.”

Kastner, who worked as plant manager at L.E. Smith Glass Co. for nearly 40 years starting in 1966, is pleased to have the opportunity to contribute, he said.

“I'm more than glad to help with some of aspects of (L.E.) Smith Glass as it relates to the board,” Kastner said.

Potts, who worked as plant manager at Lenox Crystal from 1975 to 1995, tentatively will function as the board's treasurer, Vivian said.

“I think the museum is a welcome tribute to the glass manufacturing that's gone on in Mt. Pleasant for about 100 years,” Potts said. “It's been such a large part of community, the industry has employed hundreds of people locally, so it's a good thing.”

Potts added that he has helped museum officials get their facts straight on Lenox Crystal history since the group first formed as an exhibit in November 2012.

“I look forward to helping the museum continue to grow and evolve,” he said. “I do think it's important to be a representative of Lenox Glass on the board. I think (Forest and I) can add information about our companies' backgrounds to the board, I think it will be helpful, and I think we're going to contribute.”

Vivian trumpeted the virtues of having Kastner and Potts, key figures at two of Mt. Pleasant's three glass houses, available to offer their insight and to suggest ways to improve the facility.

“They know everything there is to know about their respective companies ... they know the inside story of manufacturing glass ... and they're leading us in the right direction,” she said.

Lucia, a borough resident and wife of Mt. Pleasant Borough Mayor Jerry Lucia, will serve as the board's secretary.

“Cassandra and I were involved together in the (Mt. Pleasant Area) Historical Society, and that's when I first met her,” Lucia said. “She started the glass museum, Jerry and I joined, she has always sent me the newsletters and kept me updated.

After Lucia recently retired from Highmark, where she worked in stop-loss sales, she agreed to take on the role.

“I admire Cassandra a lot. She's very educated, and there wouldn't be a glass museum without her,” she said.

Vivian said Lucia will help lighten her load and she will also help keep the museum running smoothly.

“It's going to take a lot of pressure off of me,” she said.

The effects of the additions to the board are already being felt, Vivian said.

“We got a query about automobile Model T lenses and headlights, I was able to direct them to Forrest, he answered the question and I was able to get back to them. So already it's had an impact,” she said.

The board's bylaws have been amended to reflect the increase in board members, along with the museum's current address at 402 E. Main St., Suite 600, in Mt. Pleasant Township.

The museum incorporated in early 2013, but its certification as a nonprofit organization was not made official until late 2013, even though it was retroactive to the time of application, Vivian said.

Because the museum relocated from the In Town Shops in the borough to the Mt. Pleasant Glass Center prior to its being officially certified, its address has been updated in the bylaws, as well, Vivian said.

Looking ahead, Vivian said, museum officials are discussing production of a book on the three glass factories the facility is designed to honor.

In addition, Trice, the great-great grandson of James Bryce, the founder of Bryce Brothers Glass, is working to complete another book detailing that company's vaunted history, she said.

“Those two things will go a long way in cementing the importance of the three glass factories in Mt. Pleasant, also in helping to support the museum,” Vivian said.

She added Kastner and Potts, in particular, will help suggest good candidates to take part in the museum's “oral history” event, which is still in the planning stages.

“Forrest will come up to me with a piece of glass in his hand, and he'll tell me a story about it,” Vivian said. “It's so valuable to have that kind of insight.”

A glass and art carnival is scheduled at the facility from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 17, she added. Vendors interested in taking part in the event are asked to call 724-542-4949.

“It will be on the front lawn in front of the building,” Vivian said. “If that goes well, it may become an annual event.”

Attendance at both events held at the museum in March — the Lenox Crystal paperweight exhibit opening and Kastner's talk on the “The Glory Years of L.E. Smith” — was at capacity levels, Vivian said.

“We filled the space both times, I think we will again this month,” she said. “No one expected to see this thing go so far so fast.”

A.J. Panian is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-547-5722 or

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