USA: Museum Of Glass At Age Five

At five years old, Tacoma’s Museum of Glass has achieved popularity, but has some serious work ahead as it tries to grow its support and numbers.The Museum of Glass turns five years old on Friday.

Like a lot of 5-year-olds, it has enthusiasm and appeal. Its attendance numbers and donations to its operating fund are impressive. Its education programs are extensive. Its dynamism for working artists is laudable. And it’s seeking accreditation by a national museum organization.

However, like any 5-year-old, the museum also has some growing up to do. Without a curator or a permanent collection, it lacks scholarly status. Without a strong endowment, it lacks long-term security. There’s a slowing of visual momentum, both inside and outside its dramatic building on the Thea Foss Waterway. These are all issues acknowledged by director and staff as work for the future, although director Tim Close, hired last year, doesn’t say exactly how he will increase financial donations, build an endowment, strengthen the budget and improve membership.

George H. Weyerhaeuser Jr., current chairman and long-time trustee on the museum’s board, is satisfied with how far the museum has come.

“It’s where I hoped it would be, on average,” he said in a recent interview. “We continue to struggle to have strong roots in the community. It seems we’re more on the map for the glass world than for Tacoma. But we’re increasingly the place where people come to hear the story of glass, we’re having serious discussions about collecting, we have a good leadership team.”

The museum is beginning to make a name for itself nationally, as well.

Story by: ROSEMARY PONNEKANTI

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