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Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum announces expansion plan

| Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
The Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum recently welcomed three new individuals to the nonprofit organization. Barbara Kelly and Carol Strothers are employment trainees at the facility via the Senior Community Service Employment program at Westmoreland County Community College near Youngwood. Lynn Layman is a retired Westinghouse supervisor who addresses the museum’s audio-video and computer needs, photographs exhibits and the permanent collection, and manages the museum’s Facebook page. Pictured (from left) are Kelly, Strothers and Layman. Photo taken in July 2014

In August, the Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum will mark the passage of one calendar year at its headquarters at the Mt. Pleasant Glass Center.

“We have had a very, very successful first year,” said Cassandra Vivian, executive director of the nonprofit organization located at 402 E. Main St., Suite 600, in Mt. Pleasant Township.

The museum celebrates the history of Mt. Pleasant's three past glass companies — Bryce Brothers, L.E. Smith Co. and Lenox Crystal.

“Donations of glass continue to arrive. Our speaker series is a huge success. We are beginning to receive bus tours and tours from groups like church, social, and other clubs,” she said.

In addition, the Pittsburgh chapter of the National American Glass Club will aid the museum this month, said Anne Madarasz, a member of the museum's board of directors and director of the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum the Sen. John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center.

“I am a (club) member and assist in planning programs and activities,” Madarasz said. “This seemed like a great match.”

Club officials will clean and rearrange the museum's exhibits and teach volunteer docents there how to care for glass, Vivian said.

“The regional glass community has welcomed us with open arms, and we are grateful,” she said.

Master glass cutter Peter O'Rourke — who previously leased a portion of space at his business to facilitate the nonprofit organization's move to the center — will now cede what amounts to half of his existing space to the museum to increase its usable space there, Vivian said.

“It's nice to see how far it has come and expand to meet office space requirements,” O'Rourke said.

Along with offices, museum officials plan to create a research library along the back wall of the facility, Vivian said.

“That will allow us to rearrange our museum shoppe and expand our holdings,” she said.

The museum has more than 150 books on glass, and its officials have created several large notebooks on the history of the area's three former glass houses, which contain advertisements, newspaper articles and journal entries dating back to the 19th century, Vivian said.

Through a series of grants, the museum is creating a brochure to be distributed to tourist locations across the state, she said.

Three signs advertising the museum are to be erected along state routes 31 and 119, Vivian said.

The facility is also undertaking an oral history project to record the memories of glass workers, she said.

In January, the museum welcomed Jodi Russel, who is undergoing employment training at the facility as a participant in the Senior Community Service Employment program at Westmoreland County Community College near Youngwood.

The museum recently acquired two additional trainees via the program — Barbara Kelly and Carol Strothers.

“This has enabled us to concentrate more on organizing our holdings and improving our communications,” Vivian said.

The museum currently has five volunteer docents, enabling the facility to expand its hours of operation to five days per week.

Lynn Layman of Hempfield, a retired Westinghouse management official, addresses the facility's audio-video needs and computer requirements.

Layman has also photographed various pieces from the museum's exhibits and its permanent collection. He also manages the museum's Facebook page.

“We just finished the paperweight exhibit, so I just photographed a large number of those pieces,” Layman said.

Dolores Pader supervises Thursdays and oversees clerical work.

The museum counts more than 100 members, but more are needed, Vivian said.

More assistance is sought

The museum is also seeking funding to hire a person to run its daily operations.

“We have grown so big, so fast that we now need a professionally trained person to run the museum,” Vivian said. “I have taken it as far as I can. We are looking. We need to find the right person and the money to pay them.”

Vivian said she will remain as president of the museum's board of directors, and she will work on special projects.

“But the day-to-day management must have a professional manager,” she said.

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

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