The Stained
Glass Museum


History of The Stained Glass Museum

History of the Museum

The Stained Glass Museum was founded in 1972 as a repository to rescue stained glass windows under threat from destruction. Many of the stained glass panels and windows in the collection were originally installed in Anglican churches which had been closed and made redundant. Some of these buildings were demolished and others were converted for alternative use. In several cases, significant stained glass windows were rescued from the building prior to demolition or modification.

The Stained glass museum in the north triforium of Ely Cathedral, c.1980

The Stained Glass Museum's early displays in the north trifoirum, Ely Cathedral, c.1979

In 1979 The Stained Glass Museum first opened to the public in the north triforium of Ely Cathedral. A number of windows rescued by the museum formed part of this display, which sought to draw public attention to this fragile heritage display fine examples of the art form.

After a successful 25th Anniversary Appeal, funds were raised to refit the Museum in the south triforium of Ely Cathedral and the Museum re-opened in April 2000. Between 2012 and 2013 a flexible display project was completed in the gallery.

Since, the museum first opened, its collection has grown through a number of significant acquisitions (donations, bequests and grant-funded purchases). Additional panels on loan from the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Royal Collection, and Friends of Friendless Churches as well as individual lenders can also be seen in the museum's gallery.

Today the Stained Glass Museum houses examples of stained glass from the 13th century to the 21st century, primarily from the UK, but also from Ireland, France, Germany, Switzerland and the USA. It is the only museum dedicated to stained glass in the UK, and one of a handful of places in the world with such a broad chronological span of stained glass exhibits.

We exist to encourage the discovery, appreciation, enjoyment and preservation of historic and contemporary stained glass.

Stained glass is a living art which tells stories about the art and peoples of the past, present and future.
We believe that stained glass has universal appeal through the transformative experience of light and colour.
We seek to create multiple opportunities to see and experience, learn and create stained glass in a unique environment.
We exist to excite and inspire, to enrich lives, and provide a memorable experience for generations of visitors.
We aim to keep the inspiration and appreciation of stained glass alive in the 21st century and beyond; to make stained glass accessible and relevant to diverse and changing audiences and their needs.
We will work with partners in various sectors to actively promote the art of stained glass in Britain; to share knowledge and skills, and to provide a bridge between existing artistic and heritage organisations and the public.

The Stained Glass Museum is registered with the Charity Commission (No. 1169842) and holds Full Accredited status with the Arts Council (No. 574).


Last edited: Friday, 26 October, 2018 15:24

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