CAMPAIGNERS and glass experts celebrated a job well done at the VIP launch of the brand new Stourbridge Glass Museum which has been more than a decade in the making.
Glass fans and local dignitaries raised their glasses at a sparkling reception on Thursday April 8 as they reflected on the 12 years of planning and development that had gone into bringing their dream to create a new museum to reality.
Antiques Roadshow star Will Farmer was among those celebrating the achievements of the British Glass Foundation which took on the challenge to create a new museum to house the borough’s prized glass collection when Broadfield House Glass Museum in Kingswinford was earmarked for closure.
Will, of Fieldings Auctioneers in Stourbridge and a trustee of the BGF, said: “This has been 12 years in the making. I don’t think anybody 12 years ago could have ever thought that would be the case but it is an incredible achievement considering what could have happened.”
He said the new attraction, on the former Stuart Crystal factory site in Camp Hill, Wordsley, would be a “world class” museum and praised the efforts of the BGF and key supporters that helped to bring the project to fruition including the European Regional Development Fund, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Dudley Council and Complex Development Projects Ltd.
The new museum has been designed to engage and inform visitors of all ages with displays, storytelling and interactive technology.
Key attractions include digital animations and audio which take visitors back 200 years to a Stourbridge glass works, hundreds of pieces from the 17th century onwards from the globally significant Stourbridge Glass Collection.
It also includes contemporary glass and art displays and a hot glass studio where people can see artist Allister Malcolm and his team at work.
Museum director Ollie Buckley said: “It’s hard to believe the moment of opening is upon us after so many years of work developing the museum.
“We’re incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved at Stourbridge Glass Museum and I’m confident visitors both young and old will thoroughly enjoy learning about the history of glassmaking and admire the different pieces on display.
“You’ll be able to sit in a real glassmaker’s chair and watch cinematic footage of the process of making a piece of glass art.
“We also have immersive animations to take you back in time to when glass was produced inside a cone – those iconic buildings that once defined the Stourbridge skyline.
“On top of this, you’ll have a chance to create your own glass designs using digital interactive screens.”
He added: “Whether you’re from Stourbridge or further afield, the museum represents important local and national history and is something in which we can all take pride.”
The museum, a registered charity, will open its doors to the public on Saturday April 9 from 10am.
Its inaugural display – Journeys and Horizons – has been created by internationally renowned artist and scholar Vanessa Cutler.
The collection takes inspiration from Vanessa’s daily walks during the Covid lockdown and represents arriving at new beginnings – a fitting theme for the new museum and current turbulent times.
Admission to the museum is £4 for adults and £2 for children aged four to 17.
For more details visit stourbridgeglassmuseum.org.uk.