The Museum of American Glass in West Virginia, located in Weston, is a free museum that tells the story of glass manufacturing and glassware in the United States and West Virginia. With thousands of beautiful pieces on display, this museum has something for everyone to enjoy.
The museum has been open since 1993. Weston is a fitting location for the museum because the town was at one point the center of the glass industry in West Virginia. At one time there were 40 glass manufacturers in Weston alone. In fact it was the largest producer of hand-blown stemware in the world at one time. Weston was a prime location for glass manufacturing for two reasons. First, it was located near plentiful natural gas resources which were needed to light the continually-burning furnaces that made the glass. Second, it had a prime location on a transportation network of railroads and rivers that connected it to industry centers like Pittsburgh.
The museum features an estimated 18,000 pieces on display plus thousands more in its archives. The floor has over 100 display cases with artifacts grouped by color, form, function, manufacturer, and more. Highlights include a marble collection, a children’s interactive area, radioactive “Vaseline” glass, a stained glass dollhouse, and materials from the American Flint Glass Workers Union which is one of the oldest labor union in the country. One must-see display is the breath-taking Steuben collection, which is one of the largest collections from Steuben Glass Works.
The museum also houses a research library with books, catalogues, and other materials that are used by researchers and academics from across the country. They even have an online archive with a searchable database.
Their gift shop sells recreations of pieces on display, as well as books, catalogues, and scholarly journals.
The Museum is free and open year-round, seven days a week. Group tours are available. For more information visit http://www.magwv.com/ or call 304-269-5006. Weston is approximately 45 minutes from Elkins on Highway 33 West.