Sea glass collecting is a hobby for many people around the world, and now there’s a nonprofit organization in Maine dedicated to preserving the historical, artistic and cultural significance of sea glass through education. The Sea Glass Center, a nonprofit organization founded in 2014, was created by collectors Danielle Perreault and Aimee Thorman in order to preserve a public collection.
I spoke with Executive Director Danielle Perreault about the organization.
Splice Today: Tell me about how the Sea Glass Center and its mission.
Danielle Perrault: The mission of The Sea Glass Center is to educate the world about all aspects of sea glass and to preserve a world-class collection for the public to explore and enjoy.
ST: How much sea glass would you say you have in the collection now, and are you still receiving donations? How do you decide what to keep? What are some of the most prized pieces?
DP: We have, and are still receiving donations of sea glass from all around the world. We have hundreds of pounds of glass from places including Australia, Greece, Japan, England, Canada, and all over the U.S. We’ve received a great donation from Barbara Bush. We’ve received many marbles, ancient rum bottle pieces from rum running days in the Caribbean, military pottery, clay pipes, and so much more. We keep all the glass that’s donated.
ST: How do you handle the traveling exhibit in terms of deciding how to display it and where to take it?
DP: Time permitting, we take a subset of the collection to various fairs and expos for people to see and enjoy. Recently we were in Hampton, NH at the Northeast Sea Glass Expo as well as the Coastal Arts Festival in Salisbury, MA. This fall, we’ll be in Hyannis for the Northeast Sea Glass Expo where I’ll give a presentation on real sea glass vs. man made sea glass.
ST: What are your long-term goals as a non-profit in terms of sea glass education?
DP: We hope to receive enough grant money to have a permanent home for the museum. Grant writing takes time and lots of luck. We kind of have the cart in front of the horse. We have great donations and great interest, now we need to raise the money to make the collection available for all to enjoy. Our hope is that we find a location in Southern Maine.
ST: Do you have a board of directors that's local or do you have a more regional or national outreach? What involvement does the board have with the organization?
DP: We do have a board of directors from different states in the US. The board right now is working on grants and raising capital.
ST: What types of educational activities does The Sea Glass Center undertake to educate the public and how do you handle public relations and outreach for those?
DP: Presently we entertain groups at our office to share the collection and educate people on the collection. We’ve hosted several Girl Scout Troops.
ST: Tell us about the future plans for the organization and where readers can find out more about how to support the Sea Glass Center.
DP: We research the pieces donated that have markings that help us determine what the glass came from. Each piece is an artifact and speaks to the industrial revolution of the area in which it was found. The history is fascinating. DownEast recently published their 2017 Sea Glass Calendars that contain pictures of sea glass donated to The Sea Glass Center. People can find out more about us at theseaglasscenter.org.
-Read more of Mary McCarthy's articles about sea glass or follow her sea glass finds on Instagram.