This past exhibition was on view from September 8, 2018 to February 10, 2019.
Washington is recognized around the world for its colorful art glass. Tens of thousands of people visit our state every year to see the work of artists such as Dale Chihuly, Sonja Blomdahl, William Morris, Ginny Ruffner, Preston Singletary and so many others, featured in museums, galleries, and other public and private spaces throughout the region.
But what of the beauty of the glass that we use every day? This versatile material is an essential part of our lives from the moment we wake up until the time we go to sleep. We use glass in what we wear, to prepare and share meals, to communicate, even for saving lives (and so much more). Washington State History Museum is celebrating the history and many uses of glass in the new exhibition Two Centuries of Glass, on view from Saturday, September 8, 2018 through February 10, 2019.
Nearly 400 glittering artifacts drawn from the Washington State Historical Society’s collections make for a sparkling atmosphere in the gallery. The wide variety of objects date from today back to the 1800s, and a few are substantially older.
Gallery cases shimmer with ordinary items that remind us of how crucial glass has been for daily living, as well as for science and industry in Washington, for hundreds of years. Get a look at Peter Rainier’s telescope and a fascinating array of tools that have been used for exploration; see lightbulbs that date to the turn of the 19th century; examine a medical kit from 1898; imagine who may have worn the elegant glass jewelry; and feel the nostalgia of your grandmother’s kitchen with Depression glass from the 1920s. Inspire your creative spirit with art glass, too, including the work of Tacoma’s native son Dale Chihuly and Seattle’s Sonja Blomdahl.
Although many of these items are taken for granted now, how different would our lives be if glass had not come into common use?