Museum of Connecticut Glass


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Our Fund-Raising Successes

Since the organization of the Museum of Connecticut Glass, Inc. in June 1994, capital, operational and special needs funds have been intensively sought from a wide variety of potential sources.

The efforts continue to seek the major capital funding needed for restoration, construction and renovations. Every offer of help to connect us with funding sources: such as grants, matching grants (private, foundation, government and individual), no-interest and low-interest guaranteed loans and a variety of donations is most welcome. Our unsuccessful searches have included the Glass Manufacturers Association, Federal sources, private foundations (banks, individual, national and local), special funds earmarked for our locality, etc.

Our very first success in 1994 came from the State of Connecticut with the sale of the historic Capt. John Turner (one of the organizers of both the Coventry and Willington glass companies and a stockholder) brick house (circa 1814/22?) for one dollar. A proviso is contained in the deed from the General Assembly-State requiring that the property be developed as a public museum to benefit of the general public.

With weather and a weakened structure suffering water and temperature damage, we successfully obtained the construction help of the carpentry class at the Howell-Cheney Technical School in Manchester Connecticut. The Museum provided all the materials. The severely leaking roof was replaced after the added dormer (circa 1930?) was removed to restore the original roof line. The disintegrated cornices were rebuilt-replaced around the base of the roof.

Sealing the house from further water and weather damage, we were spurred on with a private foundation grant of $5,000 from a Museum member couple. The money was successfully matched one on one with a $5,000 grant from the Connecticut Historical Commission. The focus of the funds paid for the installation of a new hot-air oil furnace large enough to provide the house with an air cooling system from basement to the stand-up attic when construction, restoration and refurbishing is completed thus setting a climate-controlled interior system in place in the future. With added funds, we were able to have a 7-inch chimney liner installed in the north chimney system to hook the furnace exhaust to. Also, a 375-gallon oil tank replaced the old, leaking tank. Base concrete slabs were cast to place the furnace and oil tank atop the cut granite slabs that line the flooring.

Many years ago, two founding members of the Museum built two deposit-bottle-and-can collection bins, one once located at the North Coventry volunteer fire station and the other next to the present Museum barn, on grounds across North River Road from the Turner house. These bins are located together, and Coventry area residents and others from the Tolland area continue to drop off deposit empties in the bins. Museum volunteers sort the collections in bags and boxes to be taken to a South Windsor Recycling Collection Center (a privately-run operation). The loads have averaged a few thousand dollars a year, which helps the Museum with its operational costs (insurance, electric, heating oil, repairs and other maintenance, trash removal and office supplies).

With funds raised from various sources, the Museum set aside about $7,000 to purchase the barn and land from the Town of Coventry in 2005, expanding the Museum's properties by another acre of river-front land (with a Town access easement to the water) and the former University's barn.

Other donations have come from the SBM Charitable Foundation, New Alliance Foundation, Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism, First Niagara Bank Foundation, Rockville Bank Foundation, the Westchester (NY) Glass Club, individuals, clubs and area historical societies, another $2,000 from the member-couple¹s private foundation, a descendant of the glass factory's last owner Rufus B. Chamberlain contributed an original photograph of the house and probably Rufus circa 1844. We have also received a number of glass reference books for the Museum's library.