I really meant to sell ALL of the EAPG and American Brilliant pieces from our Janvier Road bungalow.
I really did.
I mean, who needs old-fashioned, elaborately patterned glassware from 100 or more years ago?
Someone who holds them in her hand for the first time in decades, and watches as they sparkle and shine in the light, that’s who.
Someone who suddenly senses the artistry and skill of the person who lovingly created these pieces, one at a time, working close to furnaces (“glory holes”) that reach 2,000 degrees farenheit.
Someone who suddenly comes to appreciate their spectacular beauty, history and superb quality – attributes that are next to impossible to find today.
But books and websites can tell you only so much about these precious relics from an earlier time. You really do need to get up close and personal.
So off I went to The Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center in Millville, NJ.
What a fascinating place it is!
My visit inspired this shameless plug for one of the Philadelphia and Atlantic City area’s best-kept secrets. (See below for a list of museums in other areas of the country.)
Tucked into rural Cumberland County, New Jersey, and just a minute or two from the City of Millville (more on that in a minute), “Wheaton Village” is a forested wonderland of glass workshops, boutiques and galleries and the spectacular Museum of American Glass. There’s even a store that features Christmas decorations all year long!
But my focus was that museum.
With more than 7,000 objects from the 17th Century to the present, it’s an absolute must for those who love vintage and antique glass.
And if you don’t love vintage and antique glass?
You will, by the time you leave.
Naturally, I made a beeline for the EAPG and American Brilliant rooms.
I was hoping to spot some patterns of the nappies, celeries and other pieces I unpacked from the attic.
And sure enough, there was my EAPG Duncan & Miller water carafe!
And my EAPG Imperial creamer!
And some Brilliant items I wish I owned!
There are rooms devoted to antique bottles, EAPG and American Brilliant – as well as modern pieces by renowned glass artists. You’ll even find the world’s largest bottle!
There’s even a section devoted to quirky carnival glass!
Wheaton is a celebration of America’s — and New Jersey’s — first industry.
Thanks to New Jersey’s abundant natural resources (sand, silica, wood and soda ash), glassmaking was a no-brainer for the early settlers.
In 1789 Caspar Wistar founded the first glass factory in nearby Salem County. And by 1888, Dr. Theodore Corson Wheaton had established a pharmaceutical glass bottle company in Millville. From there, the industry spread throughout the nation.
Glassmaking in action.
Throughout the day, there are demonstrations of glassblowing, and you can watch a glassblower create a beautiful wine goblet. You can even interact with resident glass artists at workshops held throughout the year.
But wait! There’s more!
(Required language in a shameless plug!)
Just a mile or two down the road is the adorable City of Millville’s Glasstown Arts District, where you can take a pontoon boat ride down the serenely beautiful Maurice River (that’s “Morris” to the locals), take in a show at the restored Levoy Theatre, or wine and dine on High Street, then stroll among the plentiful art galleries, bookstores and — of course — antique shops. And you can spend the night at the Country Inn by Carlson® just at the entrance to Wheaton Village.
If you’re interested in learning more about antique and vintage American glass, or if you just want something different to do with the family, consider a visit to a glass museum like Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center!
If you love learning about antiques as much as I do, follow the blog so you won’t miss the next article. And enjoy the hunt!
Other well-known glass museums in North America
The Corning Museum in New York
Museum of Glass, Seattle
Ohio Glass Museum & Glass Blowing Studio
Huntington Museum of Art
Historical Glass Museum, Redlands, California