March 12, 2009

Stained Glass at the City Museum

The most unique cultural institution in St. Louis is without doubt the City Museum. It is not so much a museum as it is a playground that happens to be a work of art, as well as a place for a collection of lots of stuff. It has, among other things, its own aquarium, its own circus troupe, a second hand clothing store, a glass blowing studio, a "museum of mystery, mirth and mayhem', tons of caves to climb through and a jungle gym set like no other, called 'MonstroCity'.

Photo of MonstroCity from flickrite 'mesjak'

Kids and artists love it. Parents do too, even with the slight air of danger. A friend of mine called it a 'parental anxiety machine'. I've never seen the same expression of wild unfettered creativity expressed in any public venue before. It is to St. Louis' credit that they simply let this thing happen.

There is also stained glass, in one form or another, peppered throughout. I've posted a City Museum stained glass flickrset on my flickr account - City Museum, St. Louis - Stained Glass Plus. I'll continue to add more as I take more pictures in the future.

In the meantime, I have a brief overview of what's at the City Museum, mostly in terms of the stained glass, below the fold...

[update Sept. 26, 2011 - Sad to hear of the death of Bob Cassilly, the founder and creative driving force behind the City Museum. Deepest condolences to his family, friends and co-workers. Let's hope the City Museum can continue to thrive for many years as a testiment to his vision.]


The first thing you see are the mosaics.

This video is a much better intro to the mosaics than anything I can come up with, and it also gives a good general intro to the atmosphere of the City Museum.
From "Living St. Louis", a local PBS TV series -
about the creator of the mosaics - "Sharon Von Senden - Mosaics" (7:19)

Architecture Hall

These images are located in the Architectural Artifacts section of the City Museum. This is one of my favorite sections of the museum though not so popular, probably because this is the one area that is more museum and less playground.

They have some 10-12 stained glass windows within this area, though most of the Hall is filled with decorative stonework.

Landscape Window

This landscape window is probably my favorite of the stained glass pieces.



I suspect that this might be a mausoleum window, especially after I came across this image of this stained glass in Flushing Cemetary.

These next two images are from the Flickr set by Dimberly



Aquarium Patchwork Window

There are about 4 or 5 stained glass windows in the aquarium. This patchwork window is the largest. I believe some of the glass in this was made at the on site glass blowing studio. Note that it is in a real aquarium. This window is right by the 'sting ray viewing platform'. There is an alligator only about 30 feet away.





Bowl Wall

This is a wall sectioning an area where they have birthday parties and the like. It is in the same room as a vast playground, kind of an indoor skate park without skaters. I think it was considered too dangerous to let actual skaters loose on this. Kids go wild in here. Seriously.





Clear Bottle Wall

This is one of two clear bottle walls in the museum, near one of the exits leading to MonstroCity. Thee bottle are glued together with clear silcone caulk.




from rsun78 flickr page

Big Clear Bottle Wall

This bottle wall is similar the the 'small bottle' bottle wall, only with large bottles. I've never seen large, clear, thin-neck bottles like this and I'm not sure what they would have been used for. It's located on the fourth floor, where there is a small knick knack shop and a large warehouse sized room with a shop selling vintage clothing.




Oh, did I mention the room filled with old opera posters. That's a favorite of mine too, but it will have to wait for another time...

For more images, I suggest a Flickr search for City Museum, St. Louis. There are thousands and thousands of City Museum images.

There are also some interesting interactive panoramic images of the City Museum, through a thing called Gigapan. Not unlike Zoomify, but with extreme wide angle images.

Posted by Tom at March 12, 2009 07:14 AM