Visitors to the National Glass Museum have called it “beautiful,” “dazzling,” and “amazing,” since its opening nearly six years ago in May of 2012.  Former Curator Linda Bredengerd said it all started when “we had glass donated to us that was stored in Broken Arrow, Okla., for a while.  Then it was moved to a storage storage facility in Wichita where it was inventoried and cataloged.  For twelve years, as acquisition committee chair, I accepted donations on behalf of the National Depression Glass Association, Inc., which was established in 1974.”
The NDGA, as an organization,  has been around for a long time. It was founded in 1974, and an annual convention and sale has been held every year since 1975. All along, one of the goals of the organization was to open a museum to showcase American-made glassware from the years of the "Great Depression."
Bredengerd goes on to say that “my husband and I collected glass for years before I became involved with the NDGA, so I was familiar with the different types of glass acquired over the years.”
Bredengerd always felt that the location of the museum should be in the central corridor of the country so it could be readily accessible from anywhere.  She and fellow board members began looking for a smaller town in the area that would appreciate the museum and benefit from having it located there.  
The Board of Directors, during its October 2011 conference call, unanimously approved a motion authorizing President Danny Cornelius to negotiate, on behalf of the NDGA, a lease for the building located on the main street of Wellington for the museum. The resulting lease was for a period of three years with the option to renew for additional years. For the entire lease period, the rent is fixed and cannot be raised.
When Tom McAlister offered one of his vacant buildings in Wellington for their use, the NDGA board of directors grabbed it, and the glass museum soon had a new home.  
Several NDGA members, officers, and volunteers from Wellington, and the surrounding area, assisted in moving the glass from Wichita.  
The pieces are insured when taking them to set up a display.  “Over the years, only ten pieces of glass have been broken, most in transport,”said Bredengerd.
The glass is stored alphabetically by pattern at the museum and then catalogued before it is put on display.  It is done a little at a time.  
Many of the current volunteers come from Wellington, Wichita, Mayfield, and Winfield.  They generally work one day a month.  Two volunteers are at the museum at a time giving the curator time to be in the back where they can do inventory and other office work.  The two volunteers stay in the front and explain the the artifacts to visitors, answer questions, and run the cash register.  There is a display of glass items for sale, mostly duplicates from various donors.  
In the years since its opening, signage has been placed out on the turnpike letting potential tourists know of the three museums that are in Wellington area, including the National Glass Museum.  
A recent acquisition was a private collection of 1,000 pieces of forest green glass in various patterns from Castle Rock, Co.  According to Bredengerd, the couple was retiring and moving and had no room for their collection.  “A volunteer couple offered to drive to Colorado with their Tahoe and a rental trailer to pack up and load the glass to bring back here.  There were four of us who went, and we had quite a time packing all of that glass.  It arrived with no breakage,” she said proudly.
During the fourteen years before the museum opened, Bredengerd said she set up displays of the glass in various museums, libraries, and conventions around the midwest.  
“We received donations of glass for the museum for these displays.  People who were moving to smaller homes, or who had inherited a glass collection and did not have room for it, were excited to have a place where it would be seen or appreciated.”
She goes on to say that the “museum is dedicated to preserving the history and products of the U.S. glass industry.  It is an American industry that does not exist anymore on the scale it once did.  There are still some glass makers, but it is a dying art.  No one makes a full pattern anymore.”
Fostoria Glass Co. was the last major maker to close over thirty years ago in 1986.  Among the items on display are candlesticks, boudour items, stemware, glass animals, cake plates, center-handle servers, oil lamps, baskets, and many other varieties of glassware.  
During May 2014, the museum underwent a slight expansion. Staff and volunteers moved a lot of items that were in the back room to an external storage location. This allowed staff to expand the display area and include even more items for public viewing.
Donations for the build-out and maintenance of the museum are greatly appreciated. The NDGA is a 501(c)(3) organization and gifts to support the museum are generally allowed as a tax deduction under Section 170 of the Internal Revenue Code. Contact your tax advisor for your individual situation.