Geraldine (Gerrie) Casper
September 11, 1917-October 8, 2016
Former curator of Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass, Geraldine (Gerrie) Casper, who had a long productive career with the museum from 1968 to 1989, passed away on October 8, 2016.
Gerrie began her work under the direction of curator Evelyn Campbell Cloak to assist with publishing one of the first catalogues to document the museum collection. Gerrie succeeded Cloak in the position in 1971. She approached her part time curatorial position with dedication and professionalism much beyond her museum commitment. She traveled extensively at her own expense with husband Jack to attend glass seminars or document the work from artists’ studios resulting in significant relationships that were highly beneficial to the museum within the glass community. Her research produced a variety of lectures, articles, and exhibitions, as well as knowledgeable correspondence to support inquiries from other researchers.
Her notable contributions include two books: Glass Paperweights of Bergstrom-Mahler Museum and Glass Paperweights of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Flowers that Clothe the Meadows was a monumental exhibition of three hundred paperweights. It was organized by the Corning Museum of Glass for which Gerrie delivered 53 of Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass’ most valuable items in the Corning Inc. corporate jet.
In 1979, Gerrie also organized Masterpieces of Germanic Glass which showcased superb examples from the Corning Museum of Glass, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Mahler Collection from Bergstrom-Mahler Museum to mark the museum’s 25th anniversary. A documentary catalogue accompanied the exhibition along with the last in a series of scholarly international symposiums.
Gerrie was among the early champions of the Studio Glass Movement. She recognized the importance of this new glass art form and took chances exhibiting emerging artists whose names are recognized today such as Paul Stankard, Harvey Littleton, Dale Chihuly, Tom Patti and Dominic Labino, when other museums were reluctant to give the medium credibility.
Her dedication and passion helped pave the way for rebranding Bergstrom-Mahler Museum as Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass. On behalf of the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass community we offer our deepest gratitude for her contributions. The family has established a memorial with the museum in her honor which can be accessed via the museum website.