Heritage Glass Museum

by R. Cohen Ohlstein | May 21, 2015
Heritage Glass Museum The Heritage Glass Museum, located in Glassboro, NJ, is an historical museum whose purpose is to preserve and perpetuate the heritage of the glass industries of the region. In 1979, the Heritage Glass Museum initially started as an idea to preserve the heritage of South Jersey's great glass making history.

The History of Glass
You can trace the history of glass at the Heritage Glass Museum. Fine examples of historic bottles, glass, and related items are on display. Additionally, the museum is always ready to present exhibits of bottles and related items to secure, accessible public locations such as school, libraries and colleges, in an effort to increase awareness of our great glass heritage, and to encourage public interest.

In 1779, several glass blowers, all of the Stanger family, left the Wistar works of Allowaystown, New Jersey to establish a "glass works in the woods" in Gloucester County. The quality of the sands, the abundance of trees for fuel, and the proximity of the Philadelphia market made the area now known as Glassboro ideal for their new venture.

Though the Stanger Glass Works was successful, the company closed in 1781 as Revolutionary War money was devalued. In 1786 Colonels Thomas Heston and Thomas Carpenter purchased the factory.

During the following years, the Heston-Carpenter Glass Works was succeeded by the Olive Works, the Harmony Glass Works, the Temperanceville Glass Works, the Whitney Brothers Glass Works, the Owens Bottle Company, and the Owens Illinois Glass Company. Though Owens still operates here, the company now produces closures for glass and metal containers.

The glass industry in Glassboro was once the nation’s most extensive and best equipped, producing the greatest variety of styles and colors. Now, in the age of plastic and composite materials, the skills of blowing or cutting glass are left to a handful of artisans whose wares command a premium price.

Building History
The museum building itself had its origin in 1926 as the Glassboro Title and Trust Company Bank. In October of 1931, the doors were ordered closed by the New Jersey Department of Banking Embezzlement charges were placed against two directors. During the depression, the building held the Emergency Relief Organization. It then housed the business office for a lumber company, and was finally held by the Glassboro Public Library Association. On September 23, 1979, in celebration of Glassboro's 200th birthday, the Borough began leasing the building to the Heritage Glass Museum.

The land on which the building sits once belonged to the Whitney Brothers Glass Works. This industry was at one time the most extensive, best-equipped, and produced the greatest variety of styles and colors of any glass company in our country, reflecting Glassboro's long heritage as one of the nation's leading glass manufacturers. The meaning of the town's name is inescapable.

Their featured display is GOT MILK! Milk Glass. For a description of their current and upcoming exhibits, click here.

In an effort to expand awareness of the museum and it’s efforts, staff members provide educational tours of the exhibits. They welcome school students, scout groups, church or any other group organizations. Minor children must be accompanied by adults. Tours are free, donations are encouraged but not required. They request arrangements be made at least two weeks in advance of the date you wish to have your tour.

General Information
The visiting hours for the Heritage Glass Museum are Saturdays, from 11am to 2pm; Wednesdays, from noon until 3pm (CLOSED Wednesdays in June, July and August); and the 4th Sunday of each month, from 1pm until 4pm. Groups can arrange tours by appointment.

Admission is free. There is no restaurant on site, but there are a few restaurants nearby. The museum is handicapped accessible.

Street parking is available on High or Center Streets. There is off-street parking behind the museum at the Glassboro Library lot.

The Heritage Glass Museum is located at High and Center Streets (25 East High Street) in Glassboro. For more information or directions, call 609-881-7468, or check out their website at heritageglassmuseum.com.

Updated 5/19/15

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Author: R. Cohen Ohlstein


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