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Milan Museum revamps glass exhibit

Tom Jackson • Aug 27, 2014 at 3:27 PM


Businessman and philanthropist Robert Mowry died in 1984, but his legacy at the Milan Museum looks better than ever.

The glass collection at the museum, still largely based on Mowry's original gifts, has received a facelift and is now being shown to better advantage, said Ann Basilone-Jones, the museum's executive director.

Basilone-Jones said the museum owns 1,500 glass pieces, spanning several centuries and representing the European art glass movement, the American art glass movement and the modern studio glass movement.

"Our oldest piece here is a piece we date between 1650 and 1750," she said. 

Two of the rooms at the museum have been revamped to provide museum quality lighting, temperature and display cases for the glass pieces. A third room, previously used for displaying firearms, was renovated and also is being used to display the glass pieces.

"We had everything displayed, but this is the first time everything will be displayed to museum quality standards," Basilone-Jones said. "We wanted to have the space reflective of the quality and the beauty and the scope of the collection."

Robert Mowry began buying glass pieces for the museum in the 1960s and then giving them to the museum, Jones said. His gifts are still the core of the glass collection.

A biography supplied by the museum says that Mowry grew up across the street from the museum and became the president of the Universal Battery Company in Chicago. He donated to the museum from 1954 until his death in 1984.

To highlight the new look, the museum has scheduled a series of events.

Glass artist Joel O'Dorisio, who is based in Bowling Green, will give a free presentation at 6:30 p.m. June 5 at the Milan Public Library's community room. On Saturday, there will be an invitation-only event for museum donors and members.

The biggest event is from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. June 8, when the museum will hold a community day, with free admission for everyone in the community, Basilone-Jones said. 

"It's the first of a string of community days we're starting this year," Basilone-Jones said. 

The second Sunday of each month will be a free community day, with free admission for people from Milan, Berlin Heights, Sandusky, Norwalk and other communities in the area.

"We want to encourage the community to recognize what we have to offer," she said. 

The upgrade of the glass exhibit isn't the only change at the museum.

It was formerly known as the "Milan Historical Museum," but the name has been slimmed down to "Milan Museum."

While the museum still has plenty of history, the new name reflects the fact that it also shines as an art museum, Basilone-Jones said.

"We've got an amazing glass collection, we've got an amazing folk art collection," she said.

Want to Go?

WHAT: Free admission community day at Milan Museum

WHEN: 1-5 p.m. Sunday, June 8

WHERE: Milan Museum, 10 S. Edison Drive, Milan

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