A Glimpse into the Beauty of Gelman Stained Glass Museum

Welcome to the Gelman Stained Glass Museum, a hidden gem located in the heart of Chicago. This museum houses one of the largest collections of stained glass windows in the world, showcasing pieces from various eras and styles. The museum’s walls are adorned with vibrant colors and intricate designs that tell stories from religious texts, historical events, and modern themes. A visit to this museum is truly a feast for the eyes and a glimpse into the mastery of craftsmanship and artistry that goes into the creation of stained glass windows.

The Glorious History of Gelman Stained Glass Museum

The Gelman Stained Glass Museum is a museum dedicated to the history and beauty of stained glass art. It is located in Chicago and is housed in an elegant building that has an interesting history of its own. The museum is well-known for its remarkable collection of stained glass art and is a must-visit destination for art lovers, history enthusiasts, and anyone fascinated by intricate, colorful art.

The Founders

The Gelman Stained Glass Museum was established by Egon and Hildegard Gelman, who were avid collectors of stained glass art. They began collecting stained glass art in the 1970s and amassed a remarkable collection over the years. The Gelmans wanted to share their passion for stained glass art with the public and started the Gelman Stained Glass Museum in 2000. The museum opened its doors to the public with an extensive collection of stained glass art from various countries and periods.

The Building

The Gelman Stained Glass Museum is located in a beautiful building that dates back to 1895. The building has an intriguing history and was once the former Rothschild Printing Company. In the early 1900s, the Rothschild Printing Company was an important player in Chicago’s printing industry, producing several newspapers and magazines. The building’s architecture is an eclectic mix of Richardsonian Romanesque and Beaux-Arts styles, characterized by its imposing facade, intricate detailing, and stunning stained glass windows.

The Gelmans chose the Rothschild Printing Company building because of its rich history and aesthetic appeal. The building was extensively renovated to accommodate the museum’s needs while still preserving its historical significance and charm. The Gelman Stained Glass Museum is spread over three floors and includes galleries, exhibition spaces, and a gift shop.

The Collections

The Gelman Stained Glass Museum boasts an exceptional collection of stained glass art, ranging from ancient to contemporary periods. The museum’s stained glass collection includes examples of various techniques used to create stained glass art, such as painting, enameling, and frosting. The collection features works from various countries and regions, including Europe, Asia, and North America.

The museum has a dedicated gallery that showcases the work of Louis Comfort Tiffany, a renowned American artist who is often referred to as the father of modern stained glass. The gallery features several of Tiffany’s exquisite stained glass windows, lamps, and panels, providing visitors a rare opportunity to view some of the artist’s masterpieces up close.

The Gelman Stained Glass Museum also features several exhibitions that highlight different aspects of stained glass art, such as the use of stained glass in religious and secular contexts, the role of stained glass in architecture, and the evolution of stained glass techniques over time. The exhibits are curated with care and precision, making the museum an excellent resource for researchers and students interested in the history and technique of stained glass art.

In conclusion, the Gelman Stained Glass Museum is an exceptional museum dedicated to the art of stained glass. The founders’ passion for stained glass art, combined with the unique building’s historical significance, has created an incredible space where art lovers and history enthusiasts can explore and appreciate the beauty of this stunning art form.

Discover the Stunning Exhibits of the Gelman Stained Glass Museum

If you’re looking for something to do that’s both enlightening and visually stunning, The Gelman Stained Glass Museum is a must-visit. One of the hidden treasures of the city, the museum is located downtown and is home to a collection of stained glass artwork from around the world. Walking through the museum is like walking through a kaleidoscope of colors and light. Expect to be in awe when you see the exhibits as they are truly breathtaking.

One of the things that make the museum stand out from other art institutions is the way the pieces are displayed. Each stained-glass panel is given its own space and is backlit to show the intricate details of each piece. The displays provide ample room for visitors to get up close to the artwork and see every color, texture, and detail up close.

The Tours: Get a Deeper Insight into the Stained Glass World

An essential part of visiting the museum is taking a guided tour. The museum offers several types of guided tours that cater to different interests and needs.

The General Tour

The General Tour is perfect for first-time visitors or for those who want to gain a broad overview of the exhibits. During the General Tour, you’ll learn about the history and different techniques of stained glass making and how it became an essential part of many cultures’ architectural and cultural traditions. The tour guides are knowledgeable and passionate about the art and will give you a deeper insight into the artistic process that goes into creating each piece.

The Themed Tour

If you have a particular area of interest, then the Themed Tour is for you. The museum offers different themed tours throughout the year, depending on the exhibits on display. Previous themed tours included “The Evolution of Religious Stained Glass” and “Stained Glass of the Art Nouveau Period.” The themed tours provide a deeper insight into the particular theme and offer visitors a chance to ask questions and engage with the tour guides.

The Kids Tour

If you’re travelling with your children, the museum has a specially designed Kids Tour that provides an entertaining educational experience. During the tour, children will learn about the history of stained glass and its cultural significance, making it an excellent way to introduce them to the beauty of art.

The Gift Shop: Take Home a Piece of the Art

Before leaving the museum, make sure to stop by the gift shop. The gift shop has various stained glass pieces, including jewelry, ornaments, and panels, which make beautiful souvenirs or gifts. All the pieces available are handcrafted, making them unique, and you’re sure to find something beautiful.

The museum also offers custom-made stained glass pieces, so if you have a particular design you would like to bring to life, the museum’s expert artisans can help you create a custom piece that reflects your style and personality. The process takes a few weeks, but it’s the perfect way to own a one-of-a-kind piece of stained glass art and a testament to the skill of the museum’s artisans.

Visiting Gelman Stained Glass Museum is a unique and enriching experience. The museum’s incredible exhibits and knowledgeable tour guides provide an in-depth look at stained glass art, making it perfect for art lovers and those interested in learning something new.

Events Hosted by Gelman Stained Glass Museum

Gelman Stained Glass Museum not only showcases an impressive collection of stained glass art but also organizes events and activities that promote art and creativity. From exhibitions to workshops and community events, there is always something exciting happening at the museum.


The museum has hosted many world-class exhibitions that have showcased the works of some of the most prominent stained glass artists from around the world. One of the most notable exhibitions was the “Louis Comfort Tiffany: Treasures From the Driehaus Collection” in 2018. The exhibition showcased the works of Louis Comfort Tiffany, who was a pioneer in the Art Nouveau movement. The exhibition featured rare pieces from the Driehaus Collection, including windows, lamps, and mosaics.

Another exhibition that wowed visitors was “Wings of Hope: The Kathryn D. Greene Collection of Stained Glass Angels” in 2019. This exhibition featured over 100 stained glass angels from the Kathryn D. Greene collection, which is the largest collection of stained glass angels in the world. The angels were arranged in a stunning display that embraced the theme of hope, faith, and love.

All exhibitions hosted at the museum showcase the meticulous craftsmanship and skill of these artists with each piece telling a unique story of art and history. Check out the museum’s events calendar to find out which exhibitions are coming up next.


Gelman Stained Glass Museum offers various workshops to help visitors discover their artistic creativity. From beginner’s classes to the more advanced, each workshop is a unique hands-on opportunity to learn and create your own stained glass piece.

The museum offers several types of workshops, such as “Introduction to Stained Glass” and “Leadlighting Techniques,” which run for a duration of 8-10 weeks. These workshops are designed to help beginners gain knowledge and skills in the art of stained glass. The museum also offers day workshops for those who cannot commit to a long-term course.

If you are interested in attending a workshop, you can sign up for one on the museum’s website or contact them directly.

Community Events

Gelman Stained Glass Museum believes in creating an inclusive art community. It regularly hosts events that are open to the public, collaborating with different organizations, companies, and schools.

The museum has hosted several community events such as “Puppy Love,” a Valentine’s Day event where visitors and their furry friends could create their own stained glass heart, “National Coloring Day,” where visitors were encouraged to color a pre-printed stained glass design, and “Art After Dark,” a series of night events that feature live music, food, and drinks.

The museum also offers educational programs for schools and other organizations, called “Glass in the Classroom.” The program focuses on introducing students to the art of stained glass, its history, and the techniques used.

If you want to keep up-to-date with upcoming community events, visit the museum’s website or sign up for their newsletter.

Overall, Gelman Stained Glass Museum is a great place to visit if you want to learn about the history and art of stained glass. The events and workshops hosted by the museum provide an opportunity to get hands-on experience in creating your own stained glass piece or simply appreciating the art. Whatever your interest, there is something for everyone at the museum.

Volunteering for Gelman Stained Glass Museum

The Gelman Stained Glass Museum invites individuals who share the passion for history and art to be part of the team of volunteers. The museum has been showcasing the beauty of stained glass since its establishment in 1995, aiming to educate and inspire visitors from all walks of life. Volunteering for Gelman Stained Glass Museum allows you to contribute to the preservation of this art form and aid in the continued success of the museum.

Types of Volunteer Work

Volunteers can take on various roles to assist in the daily operations of the museum. These roles include:

  • Docent: Docents conduct museum tours and share their knowledge of the exhibits with visitors. They are responsible for providing an engaging experience and context for the museum’s collections.
  • Receptionist: Receptionists welcome visitors and provide information about the museum. They also assist in administrative tasks such as managing the gift shop, answering phone calls, and coordinating events.
  • Researcher: Researchers conduct research on the museum’s exhibits and contribute to the development of new exhibits. They are responsible for gathering information, conducting interviews, and compiling resources.
  • Collections Manager: Collections Managers are responsible for handling and storing the museum’s collection. They ensure that the exhibits are properly maintained and accounted for and assist in the installation of new exhibits.
  • Event Planner: Event Planners help plan and execute events hosted by the museum. They coordinate with vendors, schedule event programs, and oversee event logistics.

Application Process

The process of becoming a volunteer at the Gelman Stained Glass Museum is easy and straightforward. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Complete a Volunteer Application Form – The application form can be obtained online through the museum’s website or on-site at the museum reception. The form captures your personal information, availability, and interests in volunteering.
  2. Interview – Once your application has been reviewed, the Volunteer Coordinator will contact you to schedule an interview. The interview is an opportunity for the museum team to learn more about you and your skills and interests.
  3. Background Check – A background check is required for all volunteers. This step ensures the safety and security of the museum’s staff and visitors.
  4. Training – Volunteers are required to complete training before commencing their roles. The training is tailored to the volunteer’s responsibilities and includes a museum orientation, policies and procedures, and relevant skills development.
  5. Start Volunteering – Once you complete the above steps, you can start volunteering at the Gelman Stained Glass Museum.

Benefits of Volunteering

Volunteering for the Gelman Stained Glass Museum provides a host of benefits, including:

  • Personal Fulfillment: Volunteering can provide a sense of satisfaction by contributing to a cause that you care about. It can also provide an opportunity to meet new people and form lasting friendships.
  • Skills Development: Volunteers get the chance to develop new skills and improve existing ones. The museum provides training opportunities that can be valuable in personal and professional growth.
  • Professional Development: Volunteering can be a great way to acquire relevant work experience and develop useful skills for future job opportunities.
  • Community Involvement: The museum plays an important role in the community, and volunteering provides a way to contribute to this role. It allows volunteers to give back to the community and make a meaningful impact.
  • Access to Museum Events: Volunteers get free access to museum events, exhibitions, and gallery openings, providing an opportunity to immerse themselves in the beauty of the museum’s collection.

Volunteering for the Gelman Stained Glass Museum offers a unique opportunity to learn and grow while contributing to the preservation of an important art form. It is an enriching experience that provides a sense of purpose while building lasting connections to the community.

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