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Acquisitions Corner

April 9, 2024

Did you know the museum is in possession of a very impressive paperweight collection? Many of our paperweights belonged to Helen Myers Miller (daughter of F.E. and Alavesta Myers, and wife of T.W. Miller), and were donated by her daughter, Mary Miller Johnson.

A paperweight is a small, solid object heavy enough to place on top of papers to keep them from blowing away.  They were first produced in about 1845 in France and were collected as works of fine art. The market developed because they were high quality, small, and moderately priced. They became a popular gift item to be given to family or loved ones. Paperweights became a vehicle for showcasing the cutting edge of glass working techniques. There are estimated to be only about 20,000 glass paperweights to survive to this day. A limited number of them are available for sale through specialty dealers. Due to their beauty and rarity, they are the most sought after works of 19th century glass.

Of all the glass arts, paperweights are considered the most challenging, and they truly represent the highest achievement in this medium.  Their precision and grace are evident as you hold one in your hand and admire the changing magnification within the dome.