Glass artwork is often overlooked when it comes to visiting museums in general. To no surprise, people visiting museums like the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art will favor paintings like Washington Crossing the Delaware. Or they might want to see sculptures like Perseus with the Head of Medusa. But if you bypass the Tiffany Glass collection, you’ll be missing an important part of American history. After all, according to the Corning Museum, glassmaking was America’s first industry. To see what you’ve been missing out on, here is a look of some of the America’s best glass museums.
Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass
165 North Park Ave.
Neenah, WI 54956
Set along the northern shores of Lake Winnebago, Bergstrom-Mahler is a hidden treasure amongst glass museums. That’s not to mention that admission is absolutely free for all visitors. Despite its small permanent collection, it reportedly holds the world’s largest collection of glass paperweights. What’s more, many of these paperweights date back to the mid-19th century. Equally impressive are glass art paperweights from contemporary artists like Rick Ayotte, Dale Chihuly and Paul Stankard. Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass also offers glass art classes for adults and children. The museum will host a Glass Arts Festival in August.
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Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art
445 North Park Ave.
Winter Park, FL 32789
With artwork from illustrious artists like Paul Cézanne, Edward Hopper and Grant Wood, the Morse Museum isn’t a glass museum per se. However, it’s distinguished by showcasing the world’s largest collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany glass. You will find particular interest in the Tiffany Chapel, built for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Additionally, the museum houses leaded glass windows from other notable figures like Frank Lloyd Wright and Peter Carl Fabergé.
Chihuly Garden and Glass
305 Harrison St
Seattle, WA 98109
Chihuly Garden and Glass is a exhibition dedicated to acclaimed and Washington State native glass artist Dale Chihuly. Set in the family friendly Seattle Center, it features several of the artist’s glass art in the gallery section. Additionally, there is a signature piece inside the Glasshouse, along with a café and dining spaces. While other Chihuly exhibitions can be found across America, this property is singularly devoted to the artist. If you go, make sure to take some photographs while inside the Glasshouse. You can get some great pics of the Seattle Space Needle through the beautiful glass.
Chrysler Museum of Art
One Memorial Place
Norfolk, VA 23510
Featuring works from artists like Gauguin, Matisse and Rodin, the Chrysler is among Virginia’s finest art museums. Even further are contemporary American artists like Richard Diebenkorn, Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol. Yet equally impressive is its extensive glass collection, with more than 10,000 pieces. Moreover, it features one of the world’s largest collections of Tiffany Glass. Among the signature pieces are Woman in a Pergola with Wisteria and Dragonfly Library Lamp. However, the Perry Glass Studio will also be of interest to you, especially if you have children. Free glass demos are held Tuesdays through Sundays.
Corning Museum of Glass
1 Museum Way
Corning, NY 14830
With more than 50,000 pieces, the Corning Museum is home to the world’s largest collection of glass artwork. It gains further prominence with the largest library related to glass and renowned research center. Together with the museum and library, it holds over 200,000 items, including some objects over 3,500 years old. Among the notable things for you to see are Gianni Toso’s Chess Set, Tiffany stained glass windows and tower of casserole dishes. Of course, the Corning Museum of Glass also offers glass demos several times each day.
Museum of American Glass
1501 Glasstown Road
Millville, NJ 08332
This acclaimed museum is the centerpiece of WheatonArts, established by its historic namesake company. Indeed, the museum holds a sizable collection of Wheaton glass, known primarily for producing pharmaceutical bottles. With a 20,000 piece collection, museum chronicles the history of American glassmaking through its exhibits. The museum and the rest of the WheatonArts campus reopens to the public April 1.
Update: The Museum of American Glass is now open Thursday through Sunday.
Museum of Glass Tacoma
1801 Dock St.
Tacoma, WA 98402
Opened in 2002, Museum of Glass is partly a tribute to the studio glass movement of the Pacific Northwest. Set along Tacoma’s Museum Row, it’s home to the largest museum glass studio on the West Coast. Moreover, it’s the only museum west of the Mississippi completely devoted to the medium of glass. Equally impressive is its architecture, particularly the cone-shaped Hot Shop and adjoining Chihuly Bridge of Glass.
Sandwich Glass Museum
129 Main St.
Sandwich, MA 02563
With a collection of about 6,000 pieces, the Sandwich Glass Museum doesn’t have a large collection. On the other hand, it’s critically important in the country’s history of glass production. In fact, its namesake factory was one of the earliest producers of pressed (molded) glass. Located in the oldest town on Cape Cod, the museum occupies the last remaining structure of the Boston and Sandwich Glass Company. Despite its small size, this glass museum has nearly 5,000 glass pieces. In addition to the rare collection, make sure to see a glassmaking demonstration. What’s more, the glassmaking demonstration is so popular, it’s the museum’s most popular attraction on TripAdvisor. Equally impressive is that the museum is a TripAdvisor’s Travelers Choice for 2022.
The Neustadt Collection at the Queens Museum
New York City Building
Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Queens, NY 11368
The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art holds a sizable collection of Tiffany glass art. This includes Favrile glass and items from Louis Comfort Tiffany’s home Laurelton Hall. But The Neustadt Collection holds the world’s largest collection of Tiffany Glass. Most of the collection, estimated to be 300,000 is stored. However, many valuable pieces are on display, including the famous Tiffany lamps. Please note that you will find the Neustadt Collection at the Queens Museum. You can find the Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens. In fact, the museum is right behind the USTA Billie Jean National Tennis Center.
Toledo Museum of Art
2444 Monroe St.
Toledo, OH 43620
Founded in 1901, the Toledo Museum of Art is widely recognized for its impressive glass collection. After all, the museum was established by Edward Libbey of the iconic Libbey Glass Company. Even more, it’s located in Toledo, nicknamed the Glass City because of the Libbey company’s economic presence. The highlight of the museum may be the Glass Pavilion, housing the 5,000 piece glass collection. But don’t miss the museum’s galleries, featuring works from van Gogh, Rembrandt, Monet and more. Also not to be missed is the Center for Visual Arts, designed by Frank Gehry.
Related: American Music Museums To Visit
About The Author
Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer who served as the National Travel Writer for CBS Local from 2012-2019. More than 900 of his stories still appear in syndication across 23 CBS websites, including CBS New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. During his peak years with CBS, Randy had a reported digital audience reach of 489 million and 5.5 million monthly visitors. Additionally, his stories have appeared in the Daily Meal, CBS News, CBS Radio, Engadget, NBC, NJ.com and Radio.com.