Toledo Museum of Art to showcase the only glass fiber dress remaining in the world

The Toledo Museum of Art (TMA) will showcase the only complete full-spun glass fiber dress remaining in the world when the Museum opens the conservation vault for rare view of major artworks that have been out of public view for many years. 

Paintings, sculptures, metalworks, textiles and works on paper created between the 1500s and the 1990 will be showcased during the exhibition dubbed the ‘State of the Art’. This, according to the Museum, will include the glass dress from the Libbey Glass Company, intricate lacework slated for display in the Cloister Gallery and Randolph Rogers’ sculpture Ruth Gleaning.

The Museum has set aside the period between September 24, 2022 to February 5, 2023 for this exhibition that will only display works from the museum’s conservation vault that have not been seen publicly for several decades.

Since these artworks require specialized care and stewardship to improve their condition, this special exhibition will form part of TMA’s Adopt an Artwork program that will allow visitors to participate in the restoration process by financially supporting the conservation of specific artworks identified by the museum’s collection team. At least, 17 artworks will be up for adoption during the program, and it will also afford visitors a rare opportunity to learn about the crucial role art conservators play in keeping the Museum’s collection safe and preserved for future generation.

There will also be a crowdfunding campaign to allow more community members to support the conservation of the Libbey dress which is widely regarded as the only complete full-spun glass fiber dress remaining in the world.

“We are entrusted to steward the artwork in our collection, but that work requires constant vigilance. ‘State of the Art’ gives greater visibility into this work by providing a behind-the scenes look at the conservation efforts required to maintain our renowned collection for future generations”, the Museum’s Edward Drummond and Florence Scott Libbey director and CEO noted in a statement.

Some of the conservation efforts that result in dramatic improvement in appearance of these artworks include examination, analytical testing, cleaning, repair, and preventive care. 

This campaign to reveal works from the conservation vault will be curated by the Museum’s senior director of collections and curatorial affairs, Andrea Gardner. It will be sponsored locally by season sponsor ProMedica, and presenting sponsors Susan and Tom Palmer, with additional support from Taylor Automotive and Bill and Cathy Carroll. The show is also made possible in part by the Ohio Arts Council (OAC).