The Murano Glass Museum is a major tourist attraction on Venetian island of Murano, and one that uniquely represents the rich history of glassmaking present on the small Venetian island. Many tourists wish to visit the museum, and rightly so, as the large venue houses historical artifacts and beautiful displays that are unique to Murano.
There are both permanent and temporary exhibitions open to tourists, and those who purchase tickets are granted admission to the majority of the museum, including any special or seasonal shows. The museum was renovated recently, and the building itself is almost as beautiful as the treasures kept within it. Below, we detail some of the highlights of the Murano Glass Museum, that stand out amongst all of the stunning exhibitions.
The introductory video
One highlight of the Murano Glass Museum is the introductory video, screened in a small room at the entrance of the main hall. The video gives a brief outline of glass manufacturing techniques, and allows visitors to grasp the complexity and the elaborate nature of the process.
The 10-minute film will shed light on the techniques used by artisanal craftsmen, as well as the processes that are used by manufacturers today. The film discusses in brief detail the techniques used to create anything from jewelry to light fixtures, and is a definite highlight, not to be missed by those looking to gain insight into both traditional and modern glassmaking procedures.
Murano Glass Throughout the Years
Glassmaking is an ever-evolving trade, and it took Murano glass masters centuries to get to the exceptional level of craftsmanship and skill for which they are known today. This became possible due to purposeful isolation of the local glass artisans on Murano island as well as the family-oriented nature of the craft. The continuity of glass-making tradition was kept by passing the maestro baton from father to son since the thirteenth century. Because of this many of the family names that you will see throughout the Murano Glass Museum’s permanent collection, even those from many centuries back, are still in existence today and their family-based companies continue creating beautiful artistic glass. At GlassOfVenice we work with many of these masters and witness their amazing craftsmanship every time we visit their workshops.
Starting from the 15th century each century marked a new era of Murano Glass Art with new techniques being developed and enhanced and new practices leading to explosion in the variety of the decorative glassware. Each of the rooms in the period collection covers a certain timespan in the history of Murano Glass and discusses the increasingly complex and elaborate techniques and methods used at each point. It’s fascinating to walk through each collection in order, and watch the progress that unfolds, as well as note how certain customs and traditions have held strong throughout the years.
Venice is a wonderfully historical city, and visitors will be able to appreciate the rich traditions that remain deeply engrained in the island of Murano, by simply visiting the city and observing craftsmen in their stores or their workshops.
Those looking for a contemporary insight into glassmaking, however, will delight in this permanent collection of modern glass. This is an opportunity for visitors to see the beautiful works of current professionals that are influenced by past artists and the muses of today. Glassmaking has, throughout most of the Western world, become somewhat of an antiquate trade as glass masters continue to create pieces in the fashion of olden days. It’s refreshing, therefore, to see modern pieces that were created by artists and craftsmen who are reshaping this ancient craft in line with contemporary artistic trends and influences. The collection, which is longstanding, is therefore a definite highlight of the Murano Glass Museum. The contemporary collection is the final room in a series of exhibitions, all of which are permanent, and all of which are curated around a specific time period in Murano’s rich glassmaking history.
The Light Fixtures
Some of the most memorable highlights of the Murano Glass Museum are the light fixtures. The lamps and chandeliers, both hung and safely kept in the glass cases, are truly spectacular and a must-see for any fan of Murano Glass or any decorative art aficionado.
All of the light fixtures are elegant and opulent, and far from understated. They rival some of the smaller artifacts that draw far more attention from visitors, seeing as they are at times far more breathtaking, and generally much larger than items on display.
The Murano Glass Museum Building
The museum is set in an ancient palace, once home to the Bishops of Torcello. Although renovations have taken place throughout the years, visitors are still able to observe and appreciate some of the traditional venetian gothic features scattered throughout the palatial building. The ceiling in the main hall, on the first floor, showcases a wonderful fresco by Francesco Zugno. The fresco was painted in the 18th century, and is a historical artifact in itself. This is only one of many beautiful features that are part of the museum aesthetic, and can be admired alongside the objects showcased in the museum.
The museum also hosts a photographic archive, that functions as a library of sorts. Visitors, with permission and previous booking, are able to access extensive catalogues. They are also able to make copies of information found within the archive, provided they fill out a booking form beforehand.
If you’re interested in filming or photographing the museum on a professional basis, the Murano Glass Museum can be booked as a venue. This is a fascinating opportunity for media professionals, and a definite highlight of the museum, as guests may recognize rooms from shots in advertising campaigns and movie scenes. The museum as a whole is a wonderful and unique attraction, and Venice tourist passes often include the cost of admission, making it a very easy place to visit.