A Fragile Heritage
Cambridge - Wednesday 6th September 2017
Aspects of Historic Glass
article posted 17 Mar 2014
Dedo von Kerssenbrock-Krosigk (b. 1967) is head of Glasmuseum Hentrich,
Stiftung Museum Kunstpalast, in Dusseldorf, Germany. After receiving his doctorate
from Humboldt University, Berlin, he worked at the Bröhan-Museum
(a museum specialized in Art Nouveau and Art Déco decorative arts) in Berlin
From 2004 until 2008, he was curator of European glass at The Corning Museum
of Glass, Corning, New York. As such, he was responsible for the museum’s collections
from the Middle Ages to about 1900.
In Dusseldorf, he curated in 2014 the show "Art and Alchemy - The Mystery of Transformation"
in collaboration with Sven Dupré, Lawrence Principe, and Beat Wismer.
- == Glaskunst 1889–-1939, collection catalogue of the Bröhan-Museum,
Berlin, 2010 (contributing author)
- == Glass of the Alchemists: Lead Crystal–Gold Ruby, 1650–-1750
(exhibition catalog Corning 2008/09), Corning: The Corning Museum of Glass,
2008 (with contributions by other authors)
- == Modern Art of Metalwork (collection catalogs of the Bröhan-Museum VI),
Berlin: the museum, 2001 (with contribution by Claudia Kanowski)
- == Rubinglas des ausgehenden 17. und des 18. Jahrhunderts, Mainz: Philipp
von Zabern, 2001 (with contribution by Ingo Horn)
The Glass Museum - A Fragile Institution
Dedo von Kerssenbrock-Krosigk
Glasmuseum Hentrich, Stiftung Museum Kunstpalast, Dusseldorf
The closing in 2015 of the Broadfield House Glass Museum in Kingswinford, England,
and the very recent threat of a possible closure of the Glasmuseum Immenhausen, Germany,
has brought to our attention the fact that museums are not necessarily and automatically the
safe harbours that we might wish them to be. Glass museums in particular are a fairly young
institution, and, despite their narrow focus on one material only, they come in a wide
This paper provides a short overview of the history of glass museums, in order to then
address their raison d'être: how ought a glass museum fulfill its role in educating the
public on the artistic and/or historic significance of glass?
Or, more bluntly: Why should the public be informed about glass?
Glass model of a frigate, probably Venice, about 1815; size 57 x 76.6 x 32.5 cm,
Museum Kunstpalast, Dusseldorf, Glasmuseum Hentrich (Gl mkp 2016-42).
Foto: Studio Fuis, ARTOTHEK.
This recent acquisition adds to the museum?s collection about everything that a curator
could wish for: it tells a story (war ship during the times of the Napoleonic wars,
sporting the Austrian flag), it provides - although also a "vessel" - for a pleasant
change from the usual objects on display, and it excites curiosity ("is it all glass?" "How is it made?').
View of the Glasmuseum Hentrich, Museum Kunstpalast, Dusseldorf, 2016,
Foto: LVR-ZMB, Stefan Arendt, ARTOTHEK.
The current display goes back to a renovation in 2006, which introduced a three-storeyed,
deep red "treasure house" that provides a chronological tour through the collection's highlights.