Medieval Treasures from the Glencairn Museum

April 2023

In April 2023, the Mellon Object-Based Learning workshop at the PMA took advantage of a loan exhibition "Medieval Treasures from the Glencairn Museum" dive into the complex medium of stained glass. The Glencairn Museum in Bryn Athyn remarkably holds some of the most important pieces of medieval stained glass in North America, including treasures from the Royal Abbey of Saint Denis outside of Paris, one of the most technologically sophisticated and theologically complex cycles of twelfth-century stained glass. Added to the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Assistant Professor of Medieval Art Sarah GuĂ©rin, Henry P. McIlhenny Curator of European Decorative Arts and Sculpture Jack Hinton, and The John and Chara Haas Senior Conservator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture Sally Malenka were able to explain to graduate students and PMA interns the wide range of development of stained glass from its origins in medieval France to its apogee in the sixteenth century. The workshop, held largely in Object Conservation at the PMA, offered the cohort of first-year graduate students as well as a number of interns from various departments at the PMA the chance to inspect these fragile masterpieces directly and in various lighting conditions. Such a holistic understanding of a medium is invaluable, not just for learning about stained glass in particular, but in formulating the types of research questions that will drive the history of art forward in the next generation.