Two of the “must see’ places of interest in Toledo are the Toledo Museum of Art and the museum’s annex the Glass Pavilion.
Toledo Museum of Art: Facts:
The Toledo Museum of Art is located at 2445 Monroe Street not too far from the heart of downtown Toledo. Edward Drummond Libbey, father of the Toledo glass industry, founded the Museum of Art in 1901. He served as the museum president from 1901-1925, funding construction of the building, and later donated his collection of Dutch and English Art to the museum. . The Museum of Art building, classified as Greek revival, was designed by Edward B. Green and Harry W. Wachter in 1912. During the 1920’s and the 1930’s the Museum of Art was expanded in size. (Information from the Wikipedia free online encyclopedia)
The building is quiet impressive, of grey concrete, and quite long. A row of several horizontal Ionic columns, supporting the roof, were placed across the entrance facades. According to Ohio Traveler.com, the interior of the museum contains four and a half acres of floor space. (First level and lower level)
After walking up a brick and concrete walk, two flights of white marble steps takes the guest to the facade and the front door leading to the interior lobby. This lobby is quite large and several tables and chairs are available for guests to rest or enjoy snacks. No food or drink is allowed beyond this area. The museum galleries are wheelchair accessible, and strollers are permitted within the building.
The Gift Shop, once located in the lower level, is now on first floor, adjacent to the lobby.
The Museum of Art contains over 30,000 works of art, and approximately 35 galleries located within the two wings of the museum, and ranks among the finest museums in the United States. Some of these works include works from Africa, Asia, American (1700-1900), Ancient, European (1000-1900) and works on paper. (Information from The Toledo Museum of Art website, Collections)
The East Wing: Left side of Lobby
At the very far end of the East Wing, is the Classical Room, better known to many as the Egyptian Room that housed the mummy and various artifacts such as pottery, jewelry, and sculptures. The mummy is only displayed at certain times, and then returned for storage. Behind the large statue that stands in the room, is the doorway leading to the Peristyle. The Peristyle is actually a concert hall and hosts the Toledo Symphony Orchestra. The style of the Peristyle is that of Greek revival, shaped similar to that of a coliseum, matching the exterior of the museum building.
Other galleries found in the East Wing contain various forms of modern art.
The West Wing. Right side of Lobby
The West wing contains several galleries of artwork from famous masters such as Peter Paul Rubens “The Crowning of St. Catherine,” minor works of Rembrandt, and El Greco. Some of the galleries of interest contain jewelry, a very large moving clock encased in glass, glassware, and paintings from other nations. Within this wing are two paintings of interest. One painting is that of a young man. In the painting the young man is wearing slippers, and one foot is placed in front of the other and is pointing outward. If a person walks to the left or right of the painting, staring intently at the painting as he or she walks, the pointing foot in the painting appears to turn in a different direction.
The other painting is that of a man in a beret. He has his head turned towards the left and his left hand is pointing to the right. Again, if a person walks to the left or the right of the painting while staring at it intensely, the painting seems to move. The man’s head appears to be following the person’s movement and the finger points in a different direction. The two paintings were pointed out to my daughter and me by a museum guide. He stated that as far back as the 1500’s many artists knew about optical illusion, and having a sense of humor, would create illusions within their paintings.
The lower level of the museum consists of restrooms, café’, various art forms, the University of Toledo Gallery, and various rooms where art classes are held. Other rooms, not available to the public house various forms of art yet not on display or in storage.
Our next stop was the annex, the Glass Pavilion, located directly across the street from the Museum of Art.
The Glass Pavilion:
The Glass Pavilion opened in 2006 and houses much of the Museum of Art’s glass collection from the ancient to modern times. The Glass Pavilion was designed by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of the SANAA firm based in Japan. The structure is almost entirely made of glass consisting of curved walls. The only exceptions of not being glass, is the walls that surround the restrooms, plumbing, drains, flooring, elevators and bracings. Thickness of the glass is 2.5 m thick and studies were done on the safety of the glass. The building team held a mock up testing by throwing rocks and bricks at the glass, and the glass did not crack or shatter. (Information from Toledo Blade article, and designbuild-network.com)
The glass studio/workshop is located approximately in the center of the building. The studio consists of a glass melting furnace, a glory hole, several ovens, and working space. The studio gives free demonstrations of glass blowing daily.
The building is heated through two sources. One heating source is through the glass itself. The cavities within the layers of glass act as insulation that collects heat that penetrates the glass such as sunlight. The second source and main source of heat is from the glass melting furnace which is never shut down except for annual cleaning. Another source of heating is from another furnace which contains the glory hole.
We stayed for the glass demonstration and the glass blower Leon introduced himself, and gave information pertaining to the making of glass. First of all, glass is made from, sand silica, and often can contain other components such as iron or lead. The museum ordered the glass in pre-made nuggets resembling ice cubes. These cubes were changed to molten colorless liquid by being heated in a furnace at the temperature of 2180 degrees Fahrenheit.
Steel rods are heated in a smaller furnace, so that the liquid glass would attach to the rods. The glass must be kept hot at all times while being worked and this heating is through what is called a glory hole, with temperatures of 2150 degrees Fahrenheit. The glory hole is a large round opening where the glass worker can place his or her rod into the furnace to reheat the glass. If the glass starts to cool it can become difficult to work with, and if cooled too quickly, it will crack and shatter. So it is quite common to see the glass blower return to the glory hole several times to rehear the glass.
Coloration of the glass is caused by metal oxides; gold creates reds, cobalt-blues, copper greens and blues, and manganese purples. Colors are added through two various ways, frit or color bars. Frit is small colored glass fragments that can be rolled or melted into a working piece to add color or texture. Color bars are highly concentrated bars of glass that are cut into smaller pieces for the glassblower to use in adding color to the working glass.
Leon demonstrated each step as he spoke. He pulled liquid glass from the molten furnace, increased the size of the molten ball, added color( cobalt blue), and then using paddles and wet newspaper shaped a bowl. The last steps were to enlarge the bowl opening by reheating it in the glory hole. While reheating, he spun the blow pipe quickly, and the audience watched as the bowl shape became that of a large almost flat dish. He then pulled the work out of the glory hole, and held the blow pipe downward turning the rod. As Leon turned, the flattened dish once more became a large opened bowl with a wavy curved edge. Next, the bowl was removed from the blowpipe and then placed into a 900 degree oven. The glass would remain in the oven for about 24 hours. During that time, the temperature would be lowered slowly until the oven reached 325 degrees, then the oven would automatically shut down. Once the internal temperature of the oven reached room temperature, the bowl or glass item would be removed and then sold. If these procedures were not followed, then as the glass cooled it would shatter, because of the sudden change in temperature.
Admission to the Museum of Art and the Glass Pavilion is free. However, the Museum of Art does charge a fee at times to enter certain galleries for special exhibits.