A New Perspective on Glass

Davidson-Gerson Gallery of Glass

Davidson-Gerson Gallery of Glass

The Henry Ford
Dearborn, Michigan

This adaptive reuse engages and educates visitors on the versatility of glass. We converted a former machine shop into a gallery for The Henry Ford’s encyclopedic glass collection, which ranges from everyday objects to studio glass artworks. Our design continues the narrative by demonstrating the architectural applications of glass.

A new cast glass vestibule beckons visitors into the building. Composed of cast glass blocks supported by custom steel brackets, the vestibule creates a glowing counterpoint to the existing brick building and surrounding historic structures. From the small panes of the historically sensitive replacement windows to the large storefront windows facing the courtyard, the building reinforces the stories of glass innovation told by the objects within.

A New Perspective on Glass
The new gallery is adjacent to the Glass Shop to give guests the chance to see talented glassblowers at work and explore one of the richest collections of American glass anywhere in the world right next door.
A photo of an exhibit at a museum.
A photo of exhibits at a museum.

A Backdrop for Art

The building’s interior has been transformed from a dark space dominated by red brick and a timber roof into a bright and neutral backdrop for the glass collection. Newly introduced mechanical systems are unobtrusive, while rafter-mounted lighting and concealed uplights illuminate the space.

A photo of the entrance to a museum.

Connecting Experiences

The gallery is located adjacent to a working glass shop in Greenfield Village’s Liberty Craftworks district. The new vestibule reaches toward the “hot shop,” inviting visitors into the gallery to experience objects created using the techniques demonstrated nearby.

A photo of a red brick building.

Building on History

The McDonald and Sons Machine Shop was built in 1888 in Lapeer, Michigan. It was moved to its current site in 1931 to form part of Greenfield Village, envisioned by industrialist Henry Ford as a living history museum interpreting life in early America.

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