Glass Museum Frauenau

Living and Working with Glass




“The museum will be set up like the Gistl glassworks was in the old days; the furnace and the glass makers at the centre, round about the decorative processes and further out the glassworks’ housing. That’s the way it was. The museum will be as central as the furnace was in those days. I find that very fitting.” (Karl Straub, Frauenau, 2004)

We will gain an insight into living and working with glass in the Bavarian and the Bohemian forests through the eyes of the glassworks employees.

This section was modelled on a print of Isidor Gistl’s Frauenau glassworks which was built between 1924 and 1926. The working schedules and the life of the workers can be charted and taken to be representative and typical of that in many glassworks.

  • The furnace is the heart of the glassworks: it is here that the fire burns and the glass is melted. The glass-makers work here, but also the furnace builders and the smelters. The glasses are made, cooled and worked on further here.
  • Other buildings surround the furnace hall: the glass decorators’ workshops, the subsidiary workshops, storage rooms, dispatch, sales and marketing, and administration.
  •  A third ring encircles the factory buildings: the villa of the glassworks’ owner, the glass workers’ housing, and agricultural land point to the everyday life of the workers’ families, part-time supplementary work, provision and care and free-time activities. The glassworks’ pub and a large room for festivities show us a rich cultural life.
  • The train travels in from the end of the picture. The railway carries the glass out into the world and brings in people, new ideas and needs.


What you see here in the heart of the museum is not a reconstruction of a glassworks. It is a space in which the recollections of the glassworks people are held, recollections which are very much alive. It is a place filled with memories of our glass region.

Here, between the years 1999 and 2005, we have gathered together those objects as we saw them from the past and the present of glass-making and glass factory life. Glass-making equipment and tools that you see here have come from nine different glassworks in the Bavarian and Bohemian forests, some of them direct from usage, some had already been set aside. We were allowed access to pictures and documents from photo albums and private archives and we found out a lot from everyday encounters, notice-boards and the daily papers.

We interviewed more than 50 men and women from different glass-making professions. All the texts in this section have been taken from these interviews. The glassworks people themselves talk about their work and the many different people involved in the making of each single glass. They talk about everyday life in the glassworks community: points of view and experiences, hopes and fears. Past and present intermingle in their memories. Much is recounted about the past but can still be experienced today. A lot is changing, the future is open. It is a moment in glass history which has been captured for posterity.

 Katharina Eisch-Angus, Jörg Haller

(Introduction text in the Glass Museum Frauenau)