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Denmark’s Glass Museums

Glass Museums in Denmark

While researching the museums in Denmark, I have been amazed by the number and variety of cultural institutions. Denmark is 16,573 square miles, approximately the size of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Despite its size, it has over 600 museums. This high number is a testament to support from the government and the Danish people.

Museums range from the internationally known institutions like SMK National Gallery of Denmark in Copenhagen to local museums like Kokkedal’s Fredensborg Local History Museum. Denmark even has four Viking museums. However, I was fascinated to learn about there are two museums solely dedicated to glass as an art form. I have been interested in this art form ever since visiting Venice over twenty years ago, and this interest inspired me to learn more about these museums. In the port town of Ebeltoft is Glasmuseet Ebeltoft, and Hempel Glasmuseum is located in the southern city of Nykøbing.

Danish glass artist Finn Lynggaard, along with Erling Rasmussen and Bent Fredberg, created Glasmuseet Ebeltoft in 1986. It is a private institution directed by the Foundation for the Collection of Contemporary, International Glass Art. Even though it does not receive financial support from the government, the staff regularly informs the Ministry of Cultural Affairs about their projects. The museum exhibits contemporary, international glass art. It takes an interesting approach to collecting. They select artists to join the collection; once the artists accept, they send objects as a donation or loan. Artists even exchange work or send new items in order to keep the collection current. There are approximately 1,500 items in the permanent collection. It highlights over 700 artists. The museum has integrated into the town of Ebelfort through events like lectures, concerts, and children’s programs and by offering a studio space.

Nykøbing is twice the size of Ebeltoft with a population just over 16,000. Its glass museum Hempel Glasmuseum grew from the collection of industrialist J.C. Hempel (1894-1986). Similar to Glasmuseet Ebeltoft, it is a private museum. Hempel Culture Foundation manages it. In contrast, the Hempel Glasmuseum focuses on the history of glassware and not just contemporary glass art. The museum claims to have Northern Europe’s largest private collection of European glass from 1500 to 1900, as well as the largest collection of ornamental glasses and decorated goblets. In order to promote Danish glass artists, it awards the annual Hempel Glass Prize to a prominent Danish glass artist and displays their work. The museum provides similar programming with concerts, lectures, and children’s activities. Hempel Glasmuseum also tries to create an immersive experience when visiting. As visitors drive up, they see life-size bronze figures surrounded by shrubbery in the Viggo Jarl Sculpture Park.

While these museums have slightly different focuses with contemporary glassware versus historical, they both provide valuable insight into the art medium of glass.

Map of Denmark from Wikimedia Commons
Photograph of the port town Ebeltoft, Denmark, from Wikimedia Commons

Reading Reflection

I was not familiar with the idea of crafting personas prior to these readings, and I admit that the concept seemed a bit daunting to think in the abstract. I could identify with Shlomo Glotz’s statement in “A Closer Look at Personas” about being skeptical at first until seeing well-done personas in action. Glotz provides a useful introduction to the idea of personas in Part 1 by explaining how user-centered design is the same as goal-centered design and all that entails. This assisted in making the article relatable since working in libraries we often use the term “user-centered design.” An understanding of the terminology makes all the difference since I have sat in many meetings with teaching faculty to realize that we were both talking about information literacy but using different terms. Whether we refer to them as clients or users or visitors, we need to create products that will appeal to them and be of use. I appreciated that Glotz provided visuals in trying to explain complicated concepts like personas, scenarios, and goals. The first part was an effective lead in to part 2 that broke down the concepts into manageable steps.

Seeing concrete examples was helpful in wrapping my mind around this approach. Reading through the WOSP personas for Te Papa was especially helpful. These tangible examples with descriptions, attributes, needs, frustrations or pain points, and recommendations along with specific details  like demographics and photographs helped. Even though these are amalgamations or representative types, little details like photographs assists seeing these types as real people.

Even though I have taken part in interviews in my previous position related to library events, each prospective interview is always a new challenge. Erika Hall’s article “Interviewing Humans” provides a clear, concise guide for approaching interviews. She breaks down the interview process into clear sections with the introduction, body, and conclusion–much like an essay. Even through some tips may seem commonsense, they are necessary reminders. Tips like remembering to focus on the interviewee and providing an ice breaker are necessary reminders. Even the reminder to breathe is a helpful reminder because the thought of interviewing someone can be overwhelming.