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Bottle museum holds flameworking glass class

The museum opened a glassworks studio several years ago in a separate building close to the main building. The site was equipped with a full-size glass furnace so students and visitors can practice and observe techniques used by both glassblowers of the past, and artists in current times.

After operating for about four years, however, the glass furnace went cold.

"We had to turn the furnace off because we couldn't afford to run it," said Moeller. "Right now, it's off until the situation changes."

The museum had to stop offering certain glassblowing classes such as a popular course in paperweight design. The museum holds a large collection of paperweights in a stunning array of colors, many carrying large price tags among collectors.

Village Mayor John Romano said officials are committed to helping find ways to keep the museum's furnaces burning.

"This is one of the village's most valuable resources, and one of just two museums in Ballston Spa," said Romano. "It's a hidden gem in the village that more people need to know about and support."

Visitors to the museum can learn about early bottle making methods and view the surviving hand tools, a miniature model of a typical 1800s glass furnace and exhibits of hand-made bottles often overlooked as legitimate artifacts. A research library is available during museum hours.

Museum members include the Albany/Schenectady League of Arts, The Saratoga County Council for the Arts, the Museum Association of New York, the Saratoga County Association of Museums, and the Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau. Members receive a monthly newsletter containing information on the history of antique bottle manufacturing, identification and collection

The flameworking classes will begin at 9:30 a.m. and end at 4:30 p.m. each day. Class size is limited to six students on a first come, first served basis. The class is designed for people with previous experience in flameworking. Reservations and payment in advance are required. Cost for the weekend including all materials is $250.

For information or to reserve space in the workshop, contact the National Bottle Museum at nbm@crisny.org or 885-7589 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily.

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