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Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum to move to permanent home

| Tuesday, July 30, 2013, 12:41 a.m.

The Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum soon will leave the In-Town-Shops and move to its permanent home in the former Lenox factory — a fitting site since it's where glass history was made.

“The Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum will be moving from the In-Town Shops at the end of July and they will move into new quarters at the Mt. Pleasant Glass Center,” said Cassandra Vivian, museum board president.

She explained that the new location will be much larger. “The new quarters will be three times as large as the present site,” she said.

Vivian said she hopes to be set up and ready in the new location by fall. Those who have glassware on display are asked to please visit the museum and pick up their items.

“The museum will continue to honor the three glass factories of Mt. Pleasant — Bryce Brothers, Lenox Crystal and L.E. Smith,” Vivian said. “Some of the items on loan will be returned to the museum once we are set up, so the owners are taking them home now for safekeeping while we move and organize.

“The new museum site will be half of a site currently occupied by Peter O'Rourke,” Vivian said of the area that's filled by O'Rourke Glass. “The 1,200 square feet belonging to the museum will house a display area, a small library, a gift shop, and a demonstration area. O'Rourke will continue to occupy the remainder of the site.”

The site will offer visitors a chance to see the glass products made by workers in the three glass factories and offer classes, speakers and demonstrations periodically to engage the visitors even more in the area's glass history.

“In addition to the speaker series and the changing exhibits, we will have art classes, demonstrations, a library, a museum store, and anticipate being a destination stop for bus tours of the Laurel Highlands,” Vivian said.

Volunteers will be a huge part of the endeavor, with many helping in the move then adding their expertise when the doors open in the fall.

“I think that the new location is going to be great,” said Earl “Butch” Henkel of Mt. Pleasant, a volunteer and docent. “It's going to be really beneficial to us traffic-wise, and the bus tours stop there, so we will be kept busy.”

Henkel, a 36-year skilled worker from the hot end with Lenox Crystal, takes museum visitors around the facility through the many different steps in glass preparation.

“I'll take people on tours and explain to them about the process of glass-making,” Henkel said.

Vivian said that the group hopes to add temporary exhibits of more glass houses from Western Pennsylvania, offering the public an extensive on-going education of a once-thriving business that helped shape the region.

Vivian lauded Mt. Pleasant Cultural Trust for taking the museum on as its first project, as well as others who helped make the museum a reality.

“I want to thank all who have supported us and I also wish to thank our 100-plus members for believing in us and our 1,000-plus visitors.”

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer.

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