National Glass Collection at Cambridge Museum

By Linda Bredengerd
March 2007 - Issue 405

Reprinted from the January/February 2007 issue of The National Depression Glass Assn. Inc. "News & Views"

In our last issue, you got to read all about Linda and David Adams taking a display of amber Madrid glass from our National Glass Collection to display at the Redlands Museum in California. I'm sure you enjoyed reading about their adventure and the details about the museum and the fun of taking the display to them as much as I did.

Well, now I get to tell you another story about another display of our glass!

Many of you already know that the National Cambridge Collector's Club, Inc. had generously offered to display a portion of our National Glass Collection in their National Museum of Cambridge Glass in Cambridge, Ohio during the coming year – a wonderful opportunity to show some of the wonderful glass that has been donated for our collection, as well as exposing a larger number of people to the existence of the National Depression Glass Association, and the National Collection which we have established.

Once our collection was re-located to a warehouse in Wichita, Kansas, where I reside, and securely placed in the new bins, the task of deciding what to take to Cambridge was the first step. Acquisition Committee members Sarah Van Dalsam and Amanda Parmenter, some wonderful volunteers (David and Hayden Van Dalsam) and myself, began that task the very weekend that we moved the glass into the storage facility.

We first began with the "oldest" acquired boxes to see what we had. It was both fun and hard, dirty work to unwrap and examine each piece. We then either repacked the glass in good wraps and placed in good sturdy plastic storage cartons, or sat it on tables to be packed for the Cambridge display. All pieces were matched to inventory sheets and the pieces going to Cambridge were re-labeled with clear labels and placed as inconspicuously as possible so as not to detract from the beauty of the glass.

Sarah made four trips up from Tulsa, Oklahoma to spend the weekends working with Amanda and I on the process of relabeling, matching to inventory, cleaning, and repacking the glass for its trip. On a bright, sunny and warm fall day, November 2, 2006, Sarah Van Dalsam and I loaded up a rented van with 22 crates packed full of glass out of the National Collection – destination Cambridge, Ohio. (Believe me, if Sarah and I had not been friends before this, we now have enough road time together to qualify as best friends, and know just about all there is to know about each others families. We also solved most of the greater problems existing in the world and decided that if the world would just listen to us, it would be a much better place!)

We drove till dark and settled in for the night in Indianapolis, Indiana. We had reasoned that if we drove as far as we could – we would have a very short trip on the next day, Friday, and we were not expected in Cambridge until late afternoon or early evening ... so that meant we had time to stop in Springfield, Ohio to shop. We happened upon two large Antique Malls before making it to the Heart of America Mall which was our intention. Well – by the time we got through those, we had no time left for Heart of America and decided we would have to do it on the way home. (And we did – and we were short of time, but if you go – there are six large buildings – and we completed one aisle of one building in one hour! That's huge, folks! I have decided that most of the glass that exists for sale is in Ohio!)

So – back on the road to Cambridge, and we did arrive late afternoon – about 4:30 and found the museum with no problem. As we drove up, parked and got out of the van, we were met by a group of people standing outside the museum – including Cindy Arent who is the director-curator, and some of the volunteers who work at the museum and some people who were there for the Cambridge-quarterly meeting the following day. While Sarah and I were standing open-mouthed and staring like a couple of country girls just into the city, volunteers had unloaded the van and placed the glass inside the museum for the evening. We both felt like visiting royalty as we were treated so very graciously and met such excitement from these people about getting to see our glass!

We did a very quick tour of the display cases – row upon row of beautiful, gorgeous, fantastic glass – thinking to ourselves "my goodness, how is our glass going to look or hold its own with all this wonderful elegant glass?" Well we didn't have long to think as we were whisked off to Ruby Tuesday's to get acquainted and have dinner with this great group of people.

Saturday morning, we arrived back at the Museum and got to tour the facility and spend more time looking at glass while waiting for the current "Guest Display" to be removed and the NDGA Display space prepared for our glass. (What a way to kill time!) Five large display cases were allotted to us and we went from worrying whether we brought enough glass to fill them to maybe we brought too much – but then the fun began. As we started unpacking the glass and placing it, we were deluged with onlookers from the Cambridge Club – all curious to see what we brought and to learn as much as they could about our glass! Sarah and I were both astounded that we would receive that much interest and enthusiasm. Our doubts about our Depression glass in an "elegant" surrounding soon disappeared with the oohs and aahs. Admittedly, it was difficult to get work done for answering questions and talking about the glass.

We shut down at 4:30 to leave and attend the quarterly meeting and banquet as honored guests and where President Rick Jones explained who we were and what we were doing there. We were both impressed with the professionalism and efficiency with which this organization is managed. Bright and early Sunday morning, Cindy Arent opened the Museum to us to finish our display – very graciously giving up her only day off! Even this day, members drifted in and out, noticing that there were lights on, and knowing we were in there, and everyone very anxious to see what else we were putting out! And finally, we were finished and it was LOVELY! With great pride, we stood back with everyone else to admire the beautiful display - and all the qualms about our glass fitting in vanished as we accepted the praise and questions and comments. You couldn't tell where the Museum glass ended and ours began!

Our display - in five large 5 foot cases with 5 shelves 16 inches in width in each case – includes groupings of vases, console sets, boudoir items, kitchen items, honorary items donated for Show Chairmen, memorial items, lamps and lamp shades, glass animals, stems, children's dish sets, candlesticks, the Julian McEwen Dolphin memorial collection, small groupings of many patterns, and the Fred and Nita Eldridge 6 inch plate collection was included so that we could represent as many patterns as possible.

Identification cards are placed by each pattern, grouping or piece so that the viewer will be able to identify them and a placard explains about the NDGA and the collection. Brochures with information about the NDGA and membership applications are also by the display and at the front desk. The volunteers who serve as tour guides will spotlight our display and give information as part of their tour. The display will remain there until next November – so if you have the chance, or are anywhere near Cambridge – GO SEE IT! Be sure to tell people about it too, and most of all – be proud! If you know someone who is a Cambridge collector or club member – thank them.