Barnsley has long been associated with the art and industry of glass making. The glass collections at the Museum include Yorkshire and British examples as well as many more from Europe and North America.
There is an extensive collection of wine glasses and table wares from the late 17th century through to the 19th century as well as a large collection of art and studio glass. James Powell & Sons were famous makers of glass based in Whitefriars, London in the Victorian period and their work is accompanied by other famous names such as Lalique and Gallé.
Glass was heavily influenced by Scandinavian modernism in the 20th century and there are many examples of the items being produced by firms such as Orrefors and Riihimäen Lasi Oy as well as French makers such as Daum.
The close association between Barnsley and glass is being continued with commissions such as a sculptural piece from Blair Cunningham in 2009.