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Reflections of Iowa: The History of Iowa Questers through Glass

At the Brunnier Art Museum
Ann Brunnier Decorative Arts Gallery
Wednesday, August 24, 2022 through Sunday, July 23, 2023

Note: Brunnier Art Museum will be closed December 19, 2022 through January 16, 2023


The Iowa Quester Glass Collection at the Brunnier Art Museum began in 1996 and includes objects ranging from monumental Brilliant Period cut glass to colorful art glass and a diverse array of Early American Pattern Glass. This unique collection, housed in and cared for by Iowa State University Museums, Ames, Iowa, showcases American glass from 1840 to 1950. Through individual gifts and strategic acquisitions, the collection now numbers more than 1600 objects.

Iconic works of glass include a Jumbo pattern table set, many examples of Iowa City and Keota glass, a Rebecca at the Well tall standard compote, Terrestrial Globe pattern butter dish, variations of historical glass, the state’s series, and novelties. Several presidents of Iowa Questers have raised funds during their terms for the purpose of purchasing important acquisitions of glass for the collection. One dramatic example, added to the collection in 2018, is the jungle green, Art Deco pitcher designed by Reuben Haley. Haley was inspired by the Cubist paintings that he saw at the 1925 Paris International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts. The Ruba Rombic line debuted in 1928.

This exhibition will share objects from the collection, along with the history of Iowa Questers, its chapters, and members. Iowa Questers is part of the Questers, an international organization dedicated to preservation, restoration, and education through the study of antiques.

Reflections in Glass: A History of the Iowa Quester Glass Collection is curated by members of the Glass Committee of Iowa Questers.

Book a Private Tour

With two weeks' notice, groups of 8 or more can book a private tour. For more information including costs, go to our Tours page.

Book a Tour

More about Questers:

Each Quester chapter takes a name with local cultural or historical significance. Explore the “What’s in a Name” display for chapter connections, such as Old Oaken Bucket #1116 of Story City, Iowa. Just as the old, oaken bucket quenched the thirst of all who came to the well, the chapter hopes to quench the thirst for knowledge and share it with those who look into the past. The chapter’s story will appear alongside novelty glass buckets manufactured by Bryce Brothers of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.



Pitcher/Jug, Ruba Rombic pattern, 1928-1933 Consolidated Lamp and Glass Company Designed by Ruben Haley Non-flint “Jungle Green” pressed glass Gift of the Iowa Quester President’s Project of Carol Tinkey (2015-2017), Iowa Quester President’s Project of Ann Sturgeon Kraeger (2013-2015), and the Iowa Questers. UM2018.215

Rebecca at Well pattern, 1870-1882
Bakewell, Pears & Company
Non-flint pressed glass
Gift of Lu Dodemont & Jack Senader. In the Iowa Quester Glass Collection, Brunnier Art Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. UM2005.74

Detail of Vase
Empress pattern, 1904-1905
Quaker City Cut Glass Company
Leaded cut glass 
Gift of the Questers of Iowa. In the Iowa Quester Glass Collection, Brunnier Art Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. UM2000.74abc

Creamer and Sugar, Butter Dish, Celery Vase, Sweetmeat Jar with Lid, Cracker Jar with Lid, Carafe, Bowl/Master Bowl
Open-Heart Arches pattern, c. 1890s
Pittsburgh Lamp & Brass and Glass Co. or Consolidated Lamp & Glass Co.
Cerise (pigeon blood red), satin. Blown molded
Gift of Carol Tinkey, Iowa Quester President 2015-2019, member of Chautauqua Circuit #889, to the Iowa Quester Glass Collection. UM2022.36ab-42

Exhibition Programs

Find full descriptions of programs on the University Museums Calendar. All programs are free and open to the public. Registration is encouraged but not required. Click the event title to register. Events listed below will be at the Brunnier Art Museum (1805 Center Dr., 295 Scheman Building, Ames, Iowa) unless otherwise noted. Programs are subject to change. Check the University Museums Calendar and Facebook page for the latest events information.

Spring 2023

Date Night at the Brunnier Art Museum

Friday, March 24, 5:00–7:00 p.m.

Try something new for date night and visit the Brunnier Art Museum to look at art with friends or a special someone.


Composition and Production of Glass Through the Ages

Sunday, April 2, 2:00–4:00 p.m.

John Hill, ISU professor emeritus of physics and a Quester, will discuss naturally produced glass followed by an examination of glass making from prehistoric times until the modern era. This program includes a reception.


The Cousins of Early American Pattern Glass

Sunday, May 7, 2:00–4:00 p.m.

Quester and antique dealer Gloria Dobbs will share her expertise in glass objects that closely associate with early pattern glass, namely novelties, canes, and other “knick-knacks” made in glass. This program includes a reception.


Fall 2022

The History of the Glass Making Industry in America

Sunday, September 18, 2:00–4:00 p.m.

Nancy Smith and Kathy Piersma from Grand Rapids, MI will present a program describing the various aspects and designs of Early American Pattern Glass, including how glass was used to teach children.

The program will be followed by an Early American Pattern Glass identification session for visitors. Visitors are welcome to bring up to three pressed glass objects. Smith and Piersma are both Questers, dealers in Early American Pattern Glass, and have been on the Board of the Early American Pattern Glass Society. All visitors bringing glass into the museum will need to sign a waiver absolving University Museums, Iowa State University of any liability or loss.


Date Night in the Brunnier Art Museum

Friday, October 21, 5:00–7:00 p.m.

Start your date night out right with a scavenger hunt in the Brunnier! Have fun finding all the hidden images with your special someone or come with friends and compete to see who can find all the images first.


Heisey Glass Made for the Upper Middle Class: 1895-1957

Saturday, October 22, 2:00–3:00 p.m.

Caroline Jensen from the Denver area is a glass artist, Heisey collector and Quester. She will present a program on the over 60 years of Heisey glass production in the U.S. in conjunction with the exhibition Reflecting on Iowa. In operation from 1896-1957, Heisey owed its beauty to an excellent glass formula, high quality raw materials, and to the way their glassware was finished. Jensen will highlight examples from the Iowa Quester Glass Collection and her personal collection of Heisey.


Visit the Brunnier Art Museum

Tuesday - Friday, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday, 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Closed to the public Mondays. ISU curriculum tours may be scheduled on this day with a 2-week notice.

Closed University Holidays

Address: Scheman Building (2nd Floor), 1805 Center Drive, Ames, Iowa
Admission: The cost is free; however, there is a suggested donation of $8.

This exhibition is organized and curated by the Iowa Quester Glass Committee in conjunction with University Museums, Iowa State University. Exhibition funding generously provided by the Iowa Questers and the Early American Pattern Glass Society.

© 2023 University Museums, Iowa State University. All rights reserved.