Illuminate: Lightner Museum’s Stained Glass Rediscovered

Lightner Museum is thrilled to announce the opening of Illuminate: Lightner Museum’s Stained Glass Rediscovered. Thanks to a generous donation from Inez McDonald, along with additional donations by the Treasury Venue Collection and the St. Augustine Historic Inns, fifteen stained glass windows from the collection of Otto Lightner have been restored.

Stained glass has been around for centuries, possibly dating back to the ancient Romans, as a craft that plays with color and light. The term “stained glass” means glass that goes through a manufacturing process where it is colored by metallic oxides. When different colors are added, the artists are able to manipulate them. Once cooled, the pieces of glass are held together by materials such as lead and stone, ultimately becoming spectacular works of art.

While some of the windows in this collection were made by Tiffany Studios, this display brings to light lesser-known manufacturers that worked synonymously with Tiffany during the late 1880s such as Willet Stained Glass and Rudy Brothers Glass Studio, both from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The display focuses on portraiture, mythology and Art Nouveau, the theme at the forefront of stained glass in the early 1890s.

The restoration process was overseen by RLA Conservation, a group of professionally trained conservators and artists that specialize in historic architecture, artifacts and sculpture.  Over the course of two years, each window was cleaned, and repairs were made to stabilize the lead support and wood frame. Custom light boxes built by Building 4 Fabrication provide a seamless display to provide the visitor an unobstructed view of each window.  The gallery display will include twelve of the restored windows in addition to the distinguished Tiffany lamp with dragonfly motif.

On September 10, 2020, the museum will open this stunningly unique exhibition on the mezzanine above the pool. We can’t wait to share the splendor!