It's simply a stunning setting to walk into. If you've been to the Muskegon Muskegon Museum of Art anytime over the last few years you've been part of some truly historic exhibitions ranging from the absolutely awe inspiring collection of Edward Curtis Native American Collection to Paul Jendrasiak's collection of rock and roll photos over the years. Of course there are the sculptures, paintings and other artistic wonders, but a permanent collection of fragile beauty has been hiding away in the basement until now!
"Glass - Treasures From the Permanent Collection" opened in July and will carry over until the end of November to highlight the intricate beauty and craftsmanship that goes into such an incredible art of creating glass from sand and not only creating the glass, but to go on to add the color, the shape and in some cases the functionality of day to day use to what's been created.
It's an ancient art. The first known findings of glass date back to 3500 BC with ancient Egypt and eastern Mesopotamia. Glass blowing dates back to about the first century BC. The 1600's is when glass was advanced by adding lead oxide to the molten glass to add clarity and longevity to it and by about 1851. Still today, while we use glass every day in the most common of places, there's always a pause when someone is showing off the incredible art and skill it takes to make glass of any kid. From blown glass to opalescent, stained glass to the finest crystal that only comes out on holidays, or the most complex Millefiori piece that takes layers and layers of glass to achieve the depth and clarity they do.
The Muskegon Museum of Art has a magnificent collection of all these different disciplines of glass work, but as we mentioned...it's kind of all been in storage until now. Beginning in July, the curators of the collection at the museum placed all of this magnificent work out for people to enjoy and the setting is serene. The room is a little on the dimly lit side and the glass is highlighted by accent lighting to bring out the accents and colors like you've never imagined. There are large pieces, taller than an adult and there are some that are tiny begging the question, "how did they do that?" It's an awesome walk through an environment that's cool by every definition of the word and a great experience for all ages.
Kirk Hallman is the Executive Director of the Muskegon Museum of Art and we masked up and spent a few minutes talking about the exhibit and all of the safety precautions that have been put into place. Let me tell ya, when I first walked in, the smell of clean was past a hospital. They are serious about safety, social distancing and art Downtown Muskegon, but the experience is ad great as ever and your safe return can happen now. Take a listen.
The setting is ethereal, as Kirk mentioned, the sounds are docile (they came on right after we finished....dreamy) and the chance to see such craftsmanship, inspiration and ancient beauty is here through the Fall. None of the galleries are permitted to have more than the allotted number of people in them at a time to assure safe social distancing and like so many of our other community treasures, getting back to to taking in all they have to offer is so important. Make plans to head down and see this before it's done. There's something to catch everyone's eye and it's an awesome way to break up the mundane while appreciating the amazing things people have been doing and improving on since antiquity. You can visit the Muskegon Museum of Art online by clicking below!