Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites

In association with the Smithsonian Institution


A Glimpse Through Glass

a red glass bowl with gilded scenes painted

April 28, 2022 through September 11, 2022

Kemerer Museum
of Decorative Arts

Friday - Sunday, 11:00-5:00 pm

a unique gilded glass vessel

About the Exhibit

Glassmaking can be traced back thousands of years when craftsmen created the first synthetic glass objects by casting glass in molds or by shaping it with simple tools. Originally used to form small opaque beads, today, glass is one of the most versatile materials on the planet.

From beautiful works of art to radioactive antiques, glass comes in many shapes and forms. In fact, many of the acts we perform daily, like checking one’s reflection in a mirror or looking out the window, are tied to glass. By looking at glass through the lens of art, culture, and community, A Glimpse Through Glass will explore the forms, functions, and social history of different types of glass.

Along with glass on display join us for family fun on the first Sunday of every month, for Free Sundays at the Museum. A complete list of dates and activities can be found on our Free Sundays page.

Detail of fused glass with bright colors

Meet the Artists

Anna Boothe has worked with glass since 1980 and earned degrees in sculpture from Rhode Island School of Design and glass from Tyler School of Art/Temple University. Included in the permanent collections of The Corning Museum of Glass, Racine Art Museum, and Tacoma Museum of Art, her cast glasswork has been exhibited widely, including recently at Philadelphia’s International Airport, the Philadelphia Art Alliance,  Fuller Craft Museum, Albuquerque Art Museum, the Arts Council of Princeton and in Vicenza, Italy with a major collaborative work scheduled for exhibition at the Racine Art Museum, date TBD. 

When exhibiting for the first time in each of the Smithsonian, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and American Craft Council Baltimore craft shows, she received “Best of” awards.

Earlier this year, her perfume bottle “Laurel Berry” (included in the 2021 CraftForms show at the Wayne Art Center) was awarded 1st Prize by the International Perfume Bottle Collectors’ Association. As well, she won 2nd Place in the 2020 Fuller Craft Museum’s members’ exhibition.

Boothe taught in Tyler’s glass program for 16 years, helped develop and chaired Salem Community College’s glass art program, and has exhibited and/or lectured internationally in Australia, Belgium, Israel, Japan, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Turkey as well as at numerous US universities and glass-focused schools.

She served on the Board and as President of the Glass Art Society from 1998-2006 and is a former Director of Glass at Philadelphia’s National Liberty Museum.

Presently, she lives in the Philadelphia area, where she is a freelance artist and manages her new webstore (www.patedeverity.com) through which she sells her decorative cast crystal works.

Anna Booth
Scout Cartagena

Scout Cartagena was diagnosed with a rare auto-immune disorder in their 20’s.  "...interrupted my life and made me a stranger to my own body. With each year, I lose parts of my memory and mobility, increasing the urgency to create work that’s tangible. In the face of this, I have used the physicality of glass, installation, and other sculptural mediums to communicate this crisis of identity, and to help me remember what I’m afraid I will lose. My work reflects the constant struggle of my identity as queer, Afro-Latinx, and non-able-bodied. I use glass blowing, mold making, and printmaking as vehicles and metaphors for trauma and identity that help me work through who I am and my struggles. With this work, I hope to communicate a narrative for non-able-bodied people of color (POC) that will start talking of hope, resilience, and representation with able-bodied, non-black communities."

American artist and educator James Harmon (1952– ) earned his BFA in 1975 from the Rhode Island School of Design, where he studied glass with Dale Chihuly. He established himself as an independent artist and pursued graduate studies in glass at the University of Illinois from 1975 to 1979. In the mid-1980s, as a working artist at New York Experimental Glass Workshop (NYEGW; later UrbanGlass), Harmon was an active participant in the workshop’s initiatives and was instrumental in developing an educational partnership between NYEGW and New York University. In addition, Harmon was the director of the artist planning committee during the transfer of NYEGW from Manhattan to Brooklyn and the artist representative who worked with architect Jeffrey Beers on the new studio. Harmon moved to Pennsylvania in 1993 and since 2014 has been an assistant professor at Keystone College, where he directs the Regional 3-D Design Center.

Photo of James Harmon
Will Dexter

Will Dexter earned his BFA degree from the Tyler School of Art and his MFA degree from Rhode Island School of Design where he studied with esteemed glass artist Dale Chihuly. In 1981, Will Dexter and his partner Karla Trinkley co-founded Taylor Backes glass studio wishing to make a space for both traditional and contemporary art glass. Since then, Will has been making and selling his world-acclaimed glassworks through the studio, located in Boyertown, PA. His work has been exhibited throughout the world and can be found in the permanent collections of museums like the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The American Craft Museum, and The Corning Museum of Glass.

Megan Biddle is an interdisciplinary artist whose work orbits between sculpture, installation and printmaking. Rooted in glass, she produces experiment and process-driven work with an emphasis on materials and their distinct characteristics. She has attended residencies at Macdowell, The Jentel Foundation, The Creative Glass Center of America, Sculpture Space, The Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Pilchuck Glass School, Northlands Creative Glass in Scotland, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts and Mass MOCA. She has exhibited nationally and internationally at venues including XO Projects INC., Side Show, The Islip Art Museum and the Everson Art Museum in New York; the Reynolds Gallery Richmond, VA.; Space 1026, Philadelphia Art Alliance in Philadelphia, PA.; Urban Arts Space Columbus OH.; Galerie VSUP in the Czech Republic; and the 700IS Experimental Film Festival in Iceland. Her work was acquired into the American Embassy’s permanent collection in Riga, Latvia. She has taught at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Pilchuck Glass School, Urban Glass, Oxbow School of Art and currently teaches as an adjunct professor in the Glass Program at the Tyler School of Art. She is a Co-Director and member of Tiger Strikes Asteroid Gallery in Philadelphia, PA. where she lives and works.

Megan Biddle
Sharyn O'Mara in glass studio
Photo by Joseph V. Labolito, Temple University, Copyright Temple University

Sharyn O’Mara is an interdisciplinary artist. Her practice spans several media including glass, drawing, photography, and printmaking, and is interconnected by her interest in the marks of language and the language of marks. For the past few years, her work has been comprised largely of a series of works that are collaborations with her beloved dogs, both living and dead. Working with the residue of their existence - dog hair, nose prints, tattered toys - these works are visual reflections on empathy and longing in the midst of a media-driven culture that seems most often devoid of intimacy and trust. Her work has been exhibited in the U.S. and abroad and is in several public and private collections in the U.S., including The Corning Museum of Glass, Toledo Museum of Art, Arkansas Arts Center, and The Fox School of Business at Temple University. She is an Associate Professor of Glass at Tyler School of Art and Architecture. She has also taught at RISD and The Kansas City Art Institute. She lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with her husband, daughter, and their two shepherds.

Leo Tecosky works at the intersection of cultural exchange, craft traditions, and the pursuit of knowledge of self. He blends glass-making techniques with deconstructed graffiti iconography. Born in New Mexico, raised in Miami, and now currently in Brooklyn, his experience living in many places and traveling to others has helped shape Leo’s view of the world. Tecosky has worked in metal and glass shops since he could work and has an art school MFA. A father and a husband, Leo works as a glassblower in Brooklyn and teaches Glass at Tyler School of Art and Architecture.  

Tecosky has mastered various blown glass and hot sculpting techniques to form his stylized abstractions that clearly salute his love of hip hop and graffiti. Also being honored in his work is the craft of blown glass. Traditional processes are celebrated over and over again. From intricate carved line work to a humble nod to the Venetian goblet, Leo’s dedication to the craft is steady.  From this foundation, he has continued to explore how these themes overlap with other cultural interest points. These questions are carved into and layered onto the surface of his forms. Text-based meditations can be found on most surfaces seeking and sometimes pleading for truths. Much like his recurring arrow, familiar geometric patterns have entered the surface: octagrams sourced back to ancient petroglyphs share space with wild style stars and of course, the artist’s own tag: TECO.

Leo Tecosky

What You'll See

Originally used to form small opaque beads, over the course of thousands of years, glass has evolved to become one of the most versatile and widely used materials on the planet. In this section, learn about the history and evolution of glass!

Beaded glass in a flower pattern

Glass comes in two main types: Hand-blown and pressed. While they might look similar, there are some glaring differences between the two, including look, feel and cost. In this section, view examples of blown and pressed glass and learn to tell the differences between the two.

a red glass pitcher

From stained glass mosaics to abstract sculptures, glass art is a breathtaking form of expression. In this section, explore the theme of glass as art through works from a number of talented artists!

fused glass paperweight detail

In this section, learn about the many glass objects you use daily – sometimes without even realizing it! Peruse a display of radioactive materials commonly found in the home and see why your depression-era glassware might be better displayed under blacklight.

Slab glass lamp

From the first American-made violin to the creation of America’s first municipal waterworks, the Moravians of Bethlehem were renowned for their innovative spirits. At the Moravian Museum of Bethlehem, learn about the innovative ways in which the Moravians of Bethlehem used glass in their everyday lives! 

Moravian Glass stars

Drink up! From its earliest days as a brewery to its current use as a visitor center, the Goundie House has been a gathering place for the community. This section will highlight ways in which glass brought the community together through drinking.

a green goblet with gold painted flowers


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