When we first walked into Fostoria Glass Museum, we were taken aback by the enormous collection of gorgeous pieces of handmade and blown glass. It became apparent very quickly, in just this modest two story house, that there were potentially a thousand stories we could tell showcasing the glass, the factory, or the museum. When first entering the museum, we were awestruck by the amount of glass in just the first room. Upstairs visitors can see even more pieces of glass, along with tools, posters, pictures, and other artifacts. The real gem was the basement area that is generally off limits to the public. Factory equipment lined the walls in an area currently in progress to showcase what the inside of the now-demolished factory would’ve looked like. This is where we finally found our feature story: the coin glass.
When we learned about the coin glass pattern and how the government banned the original coin glass, we knew we had something special to share with our audience. The difficult part was taking this story and weaving an intricate tale to keep our audience’s attention. This is when our professor, Dr. Fisanick, stepped in and gave us a brilliant idea—to use our focus on the coin glass but also to look at the forgery of all the Fostoria glass through history. This pattern of glass has its own interesting tale that viewers will learn through our video.
The process of creating our feature video proved to be daunting. Obtaining the information about the history and forgery of Fostoria was more difficult than expected. With the tips and advice of both Cassie Clark, co-curator of Fostoria Glass Museum, and Dr. Fisanick, we created a video we are all proud of and want to share. The whole experience was well worth the time and effort put into the project, and digital storytelling has opened up a new door for us on its own.
We urge anyone who finds our video and story interesting to visit the Fostoria Glass Museum in Moundsville, West Virginia. We promise you will be just as amazed as we were.
by Amber Brantley, Noor Khan, and Jason Leone
California University of Pennsylvania Honors Writing Class
Dr. Christina Fisanick, Associate Professor of English at California University of Pennsylvania, and Robert Stakeley, Education Outreach Coordinator at the Heinz History Center, have been collaborating for over three years with historical societies throughout Western Pennsylvania to tell their stories. First-year students from Dr. Fisanick’s Honors writing courses work with several different sites each semester to create digital stories that spotlight their vast and diverse collections. In 2015 they decided to come to Wheeling, where Dr. Fisanick lives, to explore the city’s rich heritage. They worked with five different sites: Oglebay Institute’s Glass Museum, West Liberty University’s Rare Books Room, Oglebay Institute’s Mansion Museum, West Virginia’s Independence Hall, and the Ohio County Public Library’s Special Collections. This is one of those digital stories, along with a brief narrative written by the student creators exploring their creative process and thoughts about making stories about Wheeling.