Glasmuseet Ebeltoft was established in 1985, in the former Customs and Excise House in the old fishing town of Ebeltoft. It was founded by the Danish glass artist Finn Lynggaard, Erling Rasmussen (former Managing Director of Kvadrat, Ebeltoft) and Bent Fredberg (Chartered Accountant). It is a private, self-financing institution, established and directed by the Foundation for the Collection of Contemporary, International Glass Art. Its main objective is to develop a greater awareness and appreciation of contemporary glass worldwide.
The museum receives no financial support from the Government, but the Ministry of Cultural Affairs is regularly kept informed about projects and activities. The museum has approx. 40,000 visitors a year.
In June 2006 the museum was extended with a spectacular new wing.
The inauguration took place on the museum’s 20th anniversary - 28th June. In connection with the inauguration, Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II gave her acceptance to act as Patron of the museum, which is a very great honour for Glasmuseet Ebeltoft.
The new wing created by award-winning Danish architects 3XN, measures 970 square metres and contains new, modern museum facilities - exhibition space, café, reception, storage space and an enclosed garden leading to the new glass-blowing studio. This gives the public a varied repertoire of visual experience, spanning from the building’s intense focus on the endless expression possibilities of glass to the open-air exhibition space in the museum garden and finishing with a visit to the café with its panorama views over the sea and harbour. The new wing has been tastefully joined onto the existing building, which as well as containing administration offices, is also being used for exhibitions, a shop and the library which has a good assortment of literature on contemporary glass.
The museum exhibits contemporary, international glass art and has a permanent collection numbering approx. 1500 objects. Artists are selected and invited to join the collection after which objects are sent to the museum either as a donation or on loan, which makes Glasmuseet Ebeltoft quite unique. The artists regularly exchange or supplement their work, enabling the museum to show current trends in glass and the most up-to-date objects at all times. There are over 700 artists represented in the collection.
As well as the permanent collection, the museum organizes 3-5 separate international exhibitions a year with solo artists or groups of artists. In the past, the museum's main exhibition activities have concentrated on prominent, well established and experienced glass artists, however, over the lyears, the museum has also looked towards young students and graduates and those who have only had a few years experience working with glass, who often have a more experimental outlook.
The museum's exhibitions often tour other countries, organised by the museum, for example the retrospective exhibition "Observations" by Ann Wolff. Her show started in Ebeltoft in 2005 and went on to tour England, Germany, Finland, USA and Sweden. Additionally, we strive to produce catalogues to document each exhibition, with texts printed in several languages to accommodate the international audience.
The museum runs a glass studio which is a popular attraction for visitors. The studio is open throughout the year and gives the public a good introduction to the craft of glassblowing. Most of the items produced in the studio are sold exclusively in the studio shop "Studio Strange".
Glasmuseet Ebeltoft is very active and likes to contribute towards the cultural activities in the small town of Ebeltoft and the other closely situated towns. Activities are arranged at regular intervals throughout the year and include: lectures, talks, concerts, guided tours, video presentations, workshops and childrens activities in the glass studio etc.
The museum receives a large amount of support from the "Friends" Society mainly in the form of voluntary help. The Friends Society has approximately 900 members.