Home to the nation’s largest collection of Dorflinger glass, come see more than 1,000 pieces of cut, engraved, etched, gilded and enameled crystal.
Beginning the 1860s, Christian Dorflinger transformed White Mills from a sleepy hamlet on the banks of the Lackawaxen River into a bustling industrial center. For more than half a century the Dorflinger Glass Works produced exquisite cut lead crystal that graced many of America’s finest tables, including those of several White House administrations.
The Dorflinger-Suydam Wildlife Sanctuary acquired its first piece of Dorflinger glass in September 1981 as a gift from Agnes Houth Baisden. Mrs. Baisden gave a Marlboro pattern decanter in memory of her father, Fred Houth, who had worked in the Dorflinger factory. Many glass acquisitions followed and were held in a vault at an area bank as there was no museum to display them.
In 1986, the trustees of the Sanctuary began a campaign led by William Adams and Daniel O’Neill to raise $150,000 to construct a museum on the Sanctuary grounds.
With the generous support of the community, the fund drive surpassed its goal in the fall of 1987. At that time, noted glass expert Helen N. Barger agreed to donate more than 300 pieces of Dorflinger glass. The trustees named renowned Dorflinger expert Ray LaTournous curator of the budding museum in the winter of 1987. He was charged with the tasks of developing the collection and training volunteers. Construction of the building was completed in 1988. On May 20, 1989, the Dorflinger Glass Museum opened to the public.
In 1991, acting curator Mark Eggenberger installed a display of glass from Dorflinger family members June Hardy and Jane Beers. Henry J. Loftus, Jr., was appointed curator in 1992 and continues in that position today.
With more than 1,000 pieces, the Dorflinger Glass Museum is recognized as having the largest display of Dorflinger glass in the nation. Volunteers donate their time to staff the museum and museum shop. The museum shop is an important source of revenue.
The museum must generate enough revenue each year to support its costs. Admissions and museum shop sales are the primary sources of funds for the museum. The Sanctuary supports the museum by maintaining the building and grounds through the services of General Manager Tom Dein. The museum could not operate on its own without the support of the Sanctuary. Funds are always needed for educational programming, research and to develop and care for the collections.