Glass Museum celebrates 10 years

BELLAIRE – The National Imperial Glass Museum in Bellaire is celebrating its 10-year anniversary.

The celebration begins on June 6 at 4 p.m. with a rededication ceremony. The rededication will tie in with the 37th Annual Celebration that will be held from the 6-9. During this convention, there will be countless lectures, seminars and glass shows.

The doors for the museum first opened on June 5, 2003 and has since grown.

For the founders Joan Cimini and Kathy Doub finding and establishing the museum was not an easy task.

One of the biggest problem was finding a building that was perfect to hold the vast and delicate collection. After looking at several buildings in Bellaire, they stumbled across the current building, which was not for sale at the time.

“We had always talked about having a museum with nothing but Imperial Glass,” said Doub. “(This building) was perfect for us.”

Both women are collectors of Imperial Glass and sit on the National Glass Collectors’ Society board, both holding several different positions.

The current building, at 3200 Belmont St., houses the collection, which consist of over 4,000 pieces, was perivously a medical complex for Bellaire Hospital.

“A lot of people were interested in the glass museum,” said Cimini. “The dedication of the members helped to make this possible.”

To turn the once into medical complex into a home for these fragile museum pieces, took even more dedication and the help of some prisioners who were doing community service, the pieces fell into place.

“We really lucked out,” said Cimini. “All we had to do was feed (the workers) lunch and we always had coffee and donuts for them in the morning.”

Now, 10 years later, the museum offers multiple displays with pieces showing the beauty and craftmanship created by the Imperial workers.

The museum also host a vary of programs that shares the history of Imperial Glass. The museum is also equiped with about 30 dosen. Many of these dosen are collectors of Imperial Glass whose families worked for Imperial Glass. One dosen, Cylde McFeley, was an employee at Imperial as a glass finisher.

Imperial Glass was founded in 1901 by Edward Muhleman; production began in 1904, the most famous product was the Candlewick series. The factory closed in 1984.