Past Exhibits | Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass
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Past Exhibits

New On View

May 28 – August 22, 2021

Since 1959, Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass has cultivated what has become the world’s largest, most representative collection of glass paperweights on public display as well as a burgeoning contemporary studio glass collection. In 2011, the museum reaffirmed its commitment to glass by shifting its mission and collection focus to exclusively represent that medium.

A museum collection is its foundation. Following in the footsteps of founders Evangeline and John Nelson Bergstrom and Ernst and Carol Mahler, today’s donors to the permanent collection recognize the importance of exhibiting, researching, and preserving works of glass for future generations. The museum’s collection is evolving due to the many donors who have helped it grow through their generosity.

This exhibition showcases more than 200 acquisitions of paperweights and contemporary studio glass collected by Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass during the past three years. A special highlight includes a significant selection of antique and contemporary glass paperweights from the collection of longtime supporters Gary and Marge McClanahan. New On View includes important works from artists such as Lisabeth Sterling, Marvin Lipofsky, Ken Rosenfeld, Debbie Tarsitano, and Marc Petrovic, many of which have never been publicly exhibited.

Opening Celebration Zoom Event!

Join Curator of Collections and Exhibitions, Casey Eichhorn, as he talks about some of the exciting new works on display as part of New On View! You are invited to an online celebration on May 27, 2021 at 07:00 PM CDT
New On View Programming:
Tuesday, June 8 – 6:00 p.m. CDT – Gary McClanahan, Art Collector
Thursday, July 8 – 6:00 p.m. CDT – Joan Parsley, Founder and Director of Great Lakes Paperweights
Wednesday, August 18 – 6:00 p.m. CDT – Lisabeth Sterling, Artist
Register to the Zoom event HERE.

Select works from the exhibit

The museum is grateful to the following donors of works exhibited in New on View:

Gary and Marge McClanahan
The Estate of Wayne and Jean Roper
Bruce and Judy Bendoff
Gerald Silverstein and Bob Zimmerman
Barry and Donna Rice
David Huchthausen
Heller Gallery NYC
Betty Smith Memorial Fund
Marion Shepard Memorial Fund
Fred and Sharon Schomer
Bud and Libby Hoffman
Bonnie Marx
Family of Leon DeJongh
David Woods
Marjorie Bergstrom Moore Memorial Fund
Richard V. and Irene V. Simpson, in memory of Marion Bouman Giles
The Robert M. Minkoff Foundation, Ltd
Sharon Karmazin
Stephen Knapp Family Trust
Audrey Handler
The Marvin Lipofsky Studio
Gordon ParkThe family of Sylvia Vigiletti
Jill G. and Frank J. (Jack) Pelisek



Docents Know Glass

January 22 – May 16, 2021

Since our doors first opened in April, 1959, docents have played an integral role in sharing the story of Evangeline Bergstrom and her passion for collecting and expanding upon our knowledge of glass as an artistic medium. Through the efforts of docents past and present, visitors have gained a deeper understanding and appreciation for the time and expertise necessary to create works of glass art. Their continued enthusiasm and spirit of volunteerism exemplifies our vision for being The Place for Exciting Discoveries in Glass.

With combined docent experience totaling more than 75 years, our volunteer guides have selected works for exhibition from the permanent collection that are most significant to them. From antique paperweights and Germanic glass drinking vessels to Victorian baskets and contemporary glass sculpture, Docents Know Glass is sure to inspire an appreciation for everything Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass has to offer – including our fantastic docents! This exhibition is curated by our current docent corps, including Liane Butitta, Gail Dolan, Chris Grunwald, Kay Hendrickson, Pat Rosenak, Mary Ellyn Vicksta and Jeff Zdrale., and is supported in part by the Richard L. Johnson Memorial Fund.

/ˈdōsənt/ (noun) a person who acts as a guide, typically on a voluntary basis, in a museum, art gallery, or zoo.

Select Works from the Exhibit


Fox Valley Area High School Exhibition

March 4, 2021 – April 18, 2021

Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass strives to expose the community to the versatility of glass while encouraging the creativity of talented young artists in the area. The encouragement of our young people and their development in the arts is crucial to our future economic and social development. We are pleased to exhibit glass art made by high school students in the Fox Valley area. Through creating art in the classroom and at home, students have the opportunity to share their work in a public setting.

This year has been a challenging year. The Covid-19 pandemic has restricted many glass art-making activities at both the high schools and at our own studio. The students and art teachers that contributed to this exhibit made the most of their creative time and really came through to make a wonderful show. Friends and family of the student artists, as well as the general public, are encouraged to view the exhibit during the month of March.

Featured Work


Form and Feeling – Expressions of Humanity

September 01, 2020 – December 31, 2020

This Richard L. Johnson memorial exhibition emphasizes the representation of human emotion and expression in figurative works of glass. Simultaneously strong and fragile, the glass pieces featured in this show draw a significant parallel to the condition of human feeling, be it pain, joy, anger, confusion, embarrassment, or a myriad of other emotions.


Perthshire Paperweights from the Collection of Les and Angie Smith

September 28, 2018 – September 20, 2020

View more than 900 weights from the renowned Scottish paperweight maker, Perthshire. This exhibit is the first showing of the gift to Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass from the collection of Les and Angie Smith. Perthshire paperweights are known for their superb quality that rivals that of 19th century French makers.
Exhibit sponsors include The Parsley Kreilein Bravo Fund to honor collaborative glass artists Johne Parsley and Peter McDougall.


Wisconsin Ideas, Global Influences

October 10, 2019 – February 22, 2020

This exhibition focuses on the wide-reaching impact Wisconsin glass artists have had on shaping the global landscape of contemporary studio glass during the past 70 years. Exploring the many qualities of the medium, these artists have developed meaningful, lasting works for new generations of audiences and collectors.
The exhibit includes the work of artists Eoin Breadon, Beth Lipman, Chuck Savoie, Deanna Clayton, Keith Clayton, Stephanie Trenchard, Michael Meilahn, Wes and Wesley Hunting, John Littleton and Kate Vogel, Kristin Thielking and Lisa Beth Robinson, Jeffrey Stenbom, Lisa Koch, David Huchthausen, Kent Ipsen, Harvey Littleton, Audrey Handler, Marvin Lipofsky and Doug Johnson.


Reflecting Perspectives: Artists Confront Issues of Diversity and Inclusion

April 18 – September 22, 2019

The Reflecting Perspectives exhibition focuses on how artists use the power of their art to promote diversity and inclusion. The complex social, cultural and environmental challenges shaping our global landscape inform the artists’ work and provide a backdrop for advancing dialogue in these areas. The exhibit includes the works of Joyce J. Scott, Tim Tate, Preston Singletary, Marcus Amerman, Helen Lee, Pearl Dick, Raven Skyriver, Einar De La Torre, Jamex De La Torre, and John Moran.


Sharper Edges:
Women Working on the Edge of Glass

November 15, 2018 – February 17, 2019

Women are a formidable force in the growth of contemporary studio glass, despite the challenges they face receiving a level of recognition their male counterparts enjoy. This exhibit examines select female artists speaking with distinct viewpoints on social issues of politics, gender biases, stereotypes, and environmental concerns.
Contemporary artists on view include the grande dame of contemporary studio glass, Audrey Handler, as well as Susan Taylor Glasgow, Beth Lipman, Lisa Koch, Stephanie Trenchard, Carmen Lozar, Kristin Thielking, Deanna Clayton, Lisa Beth Robinson, and Jennifer Caldwell.

Audrey Handler is one of the first female students in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Glass Program under Harvey Littleton and a founding member of the Glass Art Society.  She began her studies in 1964 and continues to make work from her Verona studio.  We will be honoring her and her work as a separate focus during this time. As one of the first women of glass, she helped to break the proverbial glass ceiling for the celebrated women working today and we are glad to have her in Wisconsin.


This Just In! New Acquisitions to the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass Collection

April 14- November 4, 2018

Museums rely heavily on gifts of time, talent and treasure.  Treasures from generous patrons, who were once passionate owners of incredible pieces of history, art or specimens of some sort, make up the dominant portion of the collections experienced on view in most museums.  Limited acquisition budgets for the most part, create the selective few objects that are able to be very selectively purchased.

It is this generosity, curiosity and patronage that is celebrated in This Just In!  In 2017 and 2018, Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass was offered a number of contemporary glass sculptural objects from a variety of patrons to expand its contemporary glass collection.  A selection of these gifts will be on view adding new dimension to the exploration of contemporary glass as art at Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass.

All of the museum’s collections began through gifts and the Contemporary Studio Glass Collection began with a gift in 1991 by Don and Carol Wiiken. The collection has continued to grow through gift, primarily and a few purchases.

In this featured exhibition, new acquisitions include: works by Dale Chihuly, Harvey Littleton, Richard Royal, Stephen Rolfe Powell, Jose Chardiet, Ke’Ke’ Cribbs, Clifford Rainey, Jon Kuhn, Emily Brock and Therman Statom, Richard Jolley and many others, sharing over 30 works by contemporary artists.

In 2017, a major gift came from the Herbert and Jane Rozoff Collection of 25 contemporary works in glass. The collection offers a personal selection reflecting their relationship with some of the artists, as well as gallery owners who carried their work. When searching for a home for these beloved pieces, Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass was recommended by another contemporary glass collecting friend with whom the museum has had a long relationship and the match was made.

Additional gifts were made that continue to build the depth of the museum collection through Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass’ association with contemporary glass collectors in the Midwest. Bruce and Judy Bendoff, Chickee and Steven Rosen, Bonnie Marx, Barry and Donna Rice,  Jane Humzy and Peter Debreceny, Jacob and Molly Fishman and as well as, Burt and Libby Hoffman are among those who have expanded the museum collections recently through generous contributions.  This exhibition offers highlights from those gifts, sharing the intention of these generous donors with our audience.


Searching for Excellence

September 8, 2017 – February 11, 2018

The Searching for Excellence exhibition includes a curated selection of approximately 50 contemporary glass objects from private collections located throughout the Midwest. Through the representation of objects from private collections, this exhibit explores how private collectors assist museums in building collections for the public benefit.
The exhibit includes works from founders of the Studio Glass Movement up to and including contemporary masters. Represented artists include Dale Chihuly, Harvey Littleton, Lino Tagliapietra, William Morris, Paul Stankard and others.


Quantum:  an installation of glass, light, and sound – Jon Clark • Angus Powers • Jesse Daniels

April 23 — August 20, 2017

Quantum – detail

Imagine your sense of wonder as a child looking through the glistening dew on the grass in the morning light. Quantum is an exhibition that recalls that sense of wonder and more in a total environment, or installation, created by Jon Clark, Angus Powers and Jesse Daniels. This glass, light and sound filled environment suggests their response to the power and intimacy of such a moment in nature and how this experience changes with time.

Quantum is about experiences with natural phenomena and a sense of scale: both large and small. It is about transient matter, such as light and time, and how they evolve. The artists have created an immersive scene that engages our senses through glass surfaces, video projections with flickering light, as well as atmospheric sound designed to suggest changes in light and time.


Bending Brilliance: Neon and Plasma Sculpture

Abbey Normal, Jacob Fishman

Abbey Normal, Jacob Fishman

09.10.2016 – 02.19.2017

Bending Brilliance: Neon and Plasma Sculpture is an exhibition of works by artists who use light as their medium. Since the early 20th century, neon lights have been used in advertising signage. From those beginnings the art form has evolved to include works by artists who use light, dark and shadow to transform an environment, create a composition or extend the familiar genre of signage to playful use of puns and thought-provoking themes.

In this exhibit, view work from neon artists who play with light and illumination. In the kinetic plasma sculptures science and art blend to provide a sense of animation, science fiction and wonder for the viewer. Together, these artists provide a magical and whimsical combination of individual styles.

Exhibiting artists include

John E. BannonSarah Blood
Bradley CorsoJacob Fishman
Roy Tom GalbraithPetrie Fishman
Ed KirshnerMitch LaPlante
Bruce NaumanJed Schleisner
Wayne StrattmanMonica Wulfers
Michael Young 



June 4 – August 21, 2016

In this installation, the works form a cohesive message that speaks to the void left for all of us over senseless loss and destruction, crossing the shattered boundaries and

Everlasting Impact, 2015

Everlasting Impact, 2015

weaving together threads to create a new whole. Art is a powerful tool that has equipped Jeffrey Stenbom, and Iraq War veteran, with a language to speak beyond the words of destruction and proffer healing. Stenbom immerses you, the viewer, in a world of artifacts and remnants devoid of identity in order to place you, in the middle of the action. You stand in the footprints of the soldier; you become the Unknown Soldier. His repurposed uniforms are woven into a universal symbol for which they stand. Thank You is an installation that can speak to all of us, not just warriors or veterans, but to those who have suffered and overcome grief, anguish, desperation and deep despair. Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass has examined the medium of glass for its functional, decorative as well as gloriously sculptural capabilities of playing with light for many years, and is pleased to demonstrate the continuum. Here, Stenbom uses the method of installation art as a provocative means to immerse you into the space as a participant within a unified arrangement of objects assembled to create meaning. As a contemporary material, glass is capable of using its properties of transparency, translucency, opacity, strength and fragility to transform a message into something deeply meaningful. Throughout the centuries of its use, glass has been an alluring material that has amazed the maker and the beguiled the beholder. We invite you to absorb its poignant message through its transformational properties.


Transcending Time: A Survey of Works in Glass by Italian Maestro Lino Tagliapietra

Lino Tagliapietra, Concerto di Primavera 2000

Lino Tagliapietra, Concerto di Primavera 2000

October 8, 2015 – February 14, 2016

Since the mysterious lure of the glass factory on the Island of Murano drew him in at the age of 11, glass has been intertwined with his soul. Lino Tagliapietra earned the honor of Maestro by the time he was 25. Over the course of his illustrious career, he has traveled extensively, first sharing his Italian masterful techniques with Americans and they with him. This began with a visit to Murano by Dale Chihuly in 1968 and Lino followed with a visit to Pilchuck in 1978. The exchange has led to in an ever-changing exploration of glass as an expressive material: alive, flowing and boldly colorful. These results of unparalleled workmanship, continuous innovation, and collaboration can be seen in this exhibition of over 50 works by the Maestro. View the exhibition catalog.

Works were on loan with the assistance of Schantz Gallery, Lino Tagliapietra, Inc. and private collections organized by Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass.


William Morris: Native Species

William Morris, Selections from Native Species, 2004

William Morris, Selections from Native Species, 2004

The George R. Stroemple Collection. A Stroemple/Stirek Collaboration
April 18 – September 6, 2015

Throughout history, patrons of the Arts have brought the work of talented artists to the public. William Morris: Native Species demonstrates this modern story of collaboration and patronage between artist, William Morris, and collector, George R. Stroemple.

Morris and Stroemple, friends for many years, share a respect for the profound beauty of the natural world, which grew into the 2004 commission of 38 vessels inspired by the flora and fauna of the Pacific Northwest. Morris pays homage to the 19th century French Art Nouveau glass artist Emile Galle, as well as honors Stroemple’s request to consider the shapes and colors of the 19th century Japanese Meiji period objects he also collects.

The resulting works adeptly articulate all of these references while retaining their own presence, intricately wrought with pine needles and cones, aspen trees, dragonflies, pheasants, ground squirrels, acorns, wild grasses, lizards, and cedar boughs.


Beauty Beyond Nature: The Glass Art of Paul Stankard

Paul Stankard, Honeybee Swarm Orb, 2010

Paul Stankard, Honeybee Swarm Orb, 2010

Organized by The Robert M. Minkoff Foundation
September 13, 2014 – February 15, 2015

Beauty Beyond Nature: The Glass Art of Paul Stankard presents 70 works spanning the influential career of this artist from the private collection of Robert M. Minkoff. Minkoff encountered Paul Stankard’s work in 2005, and in a brief period built a definitive collection that has chronicled one artist’s creative journey in glass for us all.



Retrospective: an Exhibition of Kiln-formed Glass, Organized by Bullseye Glass, Co.

Klaus Moje, Object 12, 2005

Klaus Moje, Object 12, 2005

April 12 — August 24, 2014

In 1974, two recent graduates from the University of Wisconsin and one from San Jose State University set up a glass factory in the backyard of a ramshackle house in Portland, Oregon. The Bullseye Glass Company was founded with collaboration and experimentation at its core. Forty years later this legacy is seen in the work of artists who have worked with Bullseye to develop new materials and techniques.

Featured Artists: Klaus Moje, Catharine Newell, Jessica Loughlin, Silvia Levenson, Richard Whiteley, Narcissus Quagliata, Rafael Cauduro, Stacy Lynn Smith, April Surgent and Tanja Pak


Glass Artists of the New North:
Creativity in Our Midst


Beth Lipman, Still Life with Detritus, 2013

September 15, 2013 – February 16, 2014

This exhibit features the creative and innovative work of nationally and internationally renowned glass artists who live and work in The New North region. Within the Northeast Wisconsin area, there are a number of accomplished artists who are recognized for their capabilities of enriching the intellectual, economic and creative environments of the region. These artists have managed their own businesses as gallery owners, artist and entrepreneurs, creating work for exhibit and sale to a national audience. The goal of this exhibition is to meld the interest in innovation in the business community with the creativity and innovation of the artists in our midst.

Featured Artist: Beth Lipman, Michael Meilahn, Charles Savoie, Deanna Clayton, Keith Clayton, Stephanie Trenchard, Jeremy Popelka, Wes Hunting, Scott Amrheim, Jon Chapman, Thomas Fleming, Wesley Hunting, Beth Wenger – Johnstone, Cory Kwakkel, Jenna Larson, Linda Muldoon, Nick Nebel, Kristin Thielking, Keven Brunett, Mary Jo Weidert, Sharon Fujimoto, and Mitch Baker


University of Wisconsin – River Falls
Glass Legacies

Michael Meilahn, Red Ball III, Smart Number Series, 2010

Michael Meilahn, Red Ball III, Smart Number Series, 2010

April 13- September 1, 2013

Started in 1968 by Doug Johnson and taken over by Jon Engrebretson, the UW-River Falls glass program is one of the oldest BFA glass programs in the country. The program has produced countless talented and successful alumni. This exhibit focuses on the legacy started by early glass students as well as the work of more recent alumni.

Featured Artists: Eoin Breadon, Patrick Casanova, Jon Clark, Stephan Cox, Pauly Cudd, Jim Engrebretson, Renee Engrebretson, Erik Halvorson, Doug Johnson, Fred Kaemmer, Gene Koss, Joseph Limpert, Michael Meilahn, Colleen Ott, Nolan Prohaska and Brita Swanson



Button Bonanza: The Debut of the William H. Blanning Bequest with Selections from the Beadell Collection

August 6 – September 8, 2013

Button Bonanza features selections from the nearly 300 glass buttons from the estate of William H. Blanning of Washington, D.C. Many of the objects are stunning paperweight buttons, which as their name suggests, resemble glass paperweights in miniature form.

These tiny works of art demonstrate the incredible artistic and technical abilities of their makers.
Artists featured in the exhibition include Charles Kaziun, John Gooderham, Ray Banford, and Ronald and Dorothy Hansen.


The Legacy of Littleton and His Students

Harvey Littleton, Blue Mobile Arc, 1988

Harvey Littleton, Blue Mobile Arc, 1988

September 15, 2012 – February 24, 2013

This glass exhibition joined with 160 others across the nation in 2012 to celebrate Harvey K. Littleton and the founding of the American Studio Glass Movement. As a University of Wisconsin-Madison art professor in the early 1960s, Littleton began the first university glass program and forever changed how we view art through glass.

Featured Artists: Harvey Littleton, Christopher Ries, Dale Chihuly, David Huchthausen, Tom McGlauchlin, Audrey Handler, Gary Beecham, Fritz Dreisbach, Michael Taylor, Marvin Lipofsky, Henry Halem, John Brekke, Bill Boysen, Vernon Brejcha, Brent Cox, Jack Ink, Kent Ipsen, Colleen Ott, Tom Philabaum, Dan Schwoerer, John Littleton and Kate Vogel


Ricky Bernstein’s Kitchen Dreams and Other Stories

Ricky Bernstein, Kitchen Dreams, 2004

Ricky Bernstein, Kitchen Dreams, 2004

April 14-September 2, 2012

Step into a comical world of 1950’s pop culture with Ricky Bernstein’s Kitchen Dreams. Using glass, aluminum and childhood memories, artist Ricky Bernstein pieces together everyday life through a caricature of social roles and cultural icons. Bernstein’s life-sized collages animate a bold, bright, somewhat surreal world, bound to bring you a good belly laugh.




All That Glitters

Christopher Reis, Desert Flower, 2004

Christopher Reis, Desert Flower, 2004

October 1, 2011 – February 19, 2012

All That Glitters was based on the simplicity of form and glimmer of glass in contemporary cold-worked sculpture. Experience the sensuality of light as it is manipulated by artists and transformed into color and pattern. Artists were selected based on the visual effects of their sculpture and the common theme of working in cold glass methods: polishing, cutting, laminating and faceting, to exploit the reflective and transmissive qualities of light that glass manages like no other material, except perhaps, diamonds.

Featured Artists: Christopher Ries, Kreg Kallenberger, Toland Sand, Sidney Hutter, David Huchthausen, Jon Kuhn, Michael Taylor and Donald Friedlich



Glass from the Habsburgs
to the Czech Republic

Unknown, Humpen,

Unknown, Humpen,

October 9, 2010 – January 2, 2011

Glass from the Habsburgs to the Czech Republic features the museum collections complemented by loans of other glass from Central Europe to develop a chronological view of some of the highest artistic achievements between 1573 to the present day.The exhibition showcases the exquisite collection of Germanic Glass drinking vessels given by Ernst and Carol Mahler, founding members and former presidents of the board of directors.

In addition, selections from the personal collection of Eric Kaplan and Barbara Moser of Moser Art Glass, created in Meierhofen near Karlsbad, as well as Bohemian and Czechoslovakian paperweights from the collection of Gary and Marge McClanahan are included in the exhibition. Contemporary Glass of Central Europe including Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland from five private collections will complete the timeline of artistic achievements in glass over a period of nearly 500 years.


The Italian Influence in Glass

October 10- February 21, 2010

Stephen Powell, Sultry Jealous Cheeks, 2001

Stephen Powell, Sultry Jealous Cheeks, 2001

The Italian Influence in Glass considered the origins of techniques from the Romans, to the considerable innovations in style of the Venetians, and now the work that artisans of Murano are presenting for glass artists to infuse into a new bold statement. Examples of the Italian influence in this exhibition are objects created with mosaic techniques from the Roman Empire of the mid first century B.C.E. to the mid first century.

The influence continues to the paperweight form of the 19th century and carries through to the current period with the innovative work of the Venini, Barovier, and Seguso factories. As before, these artists have influenced the work of contemporary glass artists such as Harvey Littleton, Dale Chihuly, Lino Tagliapietra and Richard Ritter, and others. Wisconsin artists include, Michael Meilahn, Wes Hunting, Jeremy Popelka and Charles Savoie.