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Mt. Pleasant glass museum finds permanent home

| Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014, 4:37 p.m.
Impressive displays of an array of products from all three glass factories is part of the new Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum.
Impressive displays of an array of products from all three glass factories is part of the new Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum.

“We needed something like this for a long time,” Thomas Lane of Mt. Pleasant Township said of the new Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum that is now open to the public. “For years when you thought of Mt. Pleasant, you thought of glass.”

After opening at its temporary location in the In-Town Shops on Main Street in Mt. Pleasant, the museum, which spotlights glass from L.E. Smith Glass, Lenox Crystal and Bryce Brothers, has now moved to its permanent site within the large store area of O'Rourke Cut Glass, which is, very appropriately, within the old Lenox Crystal glass factory along Route 31 east of Mt. Pleasant.

“We quickly outgrew our first site, which is a good thing,” Glass Museum board of directors member Harley Trice said. “The first location was good for what we wanted to do, but it took off so quickly that we found we needed something much larger.”

The new spacious museum not only showcases the glassware itself but also houses displays that explain in detail the process of making, cutting and creating wonderful glass items.

“I found this all very interesting,” said museum visitor Joann Baney of Manhattan, N.Y. “I read everything, and it explained the difference in terms of style, which I appreciate.”

The museum will have permanent displays as well as central displays that will change throughout the year.

The museum was launched by Mt. Pleasant resident Cassandra Vivian, whose vision of a permanent location to display the history of one of the area's backbone industries is one that has proven to be a success.

“The feedback has all been positive,” Vivian said of the response from the public on the three famous glass makers whose furnaces have long cooled. “All three were world famous and made significant contributions of the history of glass in America. With nearly 600 pieces of glass, and growing, arranged in chronological order, we display the history, the product, the uniqueness of these three factories.”

In addition to the glass, the museum is brightly lit and open, showing the visitors the background of the industries with interesting and vibrant visuals.

“We further enhance our exhibit with posters, photographs, newspaper headlines, and a large number of tools used for making glass,” Vivian said. “This exhibit is permanent and free to the public.”

Daily tours are available and Vivian said that they also hope to have monthly speakers as well as demonstrations held at the site on a regular basis.

The museum also holds a small library that contains interesting information and a Museum Shoppe is located within the museum, offering up an array of glassware for sale for collectors or for the holidays as special gifts.

The museum also in now accepting membership for the 2014 season, and Vivian encourages all who are interested in preserving the history of the industry to consider the affordable cost of joining.

“In return for your membership you will receive four newsletters a year, invitations to special events, and the knowledge that you are supporting one of the main industries that built the Mount Pleasant region,“ Vivian said. “Why should you support the Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum with a membership and a tax deductible donation: In one year it has grown from a small exhibit to a regionally known museum. It has incorporated. It has acquired a 501c3. It has an outstanding exhibit honoring the glass factories from the area. It is drawing visitors not only from the region but as far away as New York, South Carolina, and California.”

The Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum is located at 402 E. Main St., Suite 600, Mt. Pleasant.

Hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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