Largest stained glass museum in the country set to open in San Juan

Local News

SAN JUAN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The Gelman Stained Glass Museum has selected San Juan as its home to display antique stained glass windows and other unique items.

The museum’s director, Miriam Cepeda said the museum is scheduled to open to the public on December 1 and is an experience that everyone can enjoy.

“Here at the Gelman Stained Glass Museum our goal is to produce a transcendental experience for our visitors that can be achieved through a sacred environment,” said Cepeda.

She said they have accomplished the goal through the architecture as it is replicated like a cathedral.

The museum was under construction for about five years and is almost complete, according to Cepeda.

“We are actually the largest collection of stained glass windows in the United States, all of our pieces are original antiques that date back to over a hundred years ago,” she said.

Cepeda explained that the pieces have been collected for the past thirty years.

“All of these pieces come from desecrated or deteriorating churches across the united states,” said Cepeda.

She said they are proud because the pieces have meaning and benefit the churches they have been acquired from.

“All of our pieces have contributed to the religious community by feeding the poor, clothing, whatever the church’s goal is, we’ve contributed to various communities throughout the United States,” she said.

The museum has more than stained glass windows, as visitors will also view antique pipe organs and altars, but one piece stands out the most, according to Cepeda.

“One of our prized stained glass windows that we have here is by Tiffany Studios, it’s our Te Deum,” said Cepeda.

She said the Te Deum is a forty by fifteen-foot window and is considered to be one of Tiffany Studio’s greatest pieces.

Aside from visitors having the chance to view the stained-glass displays, the 16,000 square foot museum will also be used as a public venue.

 “Not only are we a museum, but we are also a venue for rent. We will be opening to the public as a venue for weddings, ballet recitals, concerts, anything that you can think of, you can come to us and we can accommodate your special events,” she said.

Cepeda said there are plans to host their own concerts and workshops at the museum.

An inaugural concert is scheduled for Nov. 28 with renowned concert organist Dan Miller, according to Cepeda.

She explained there were several options of locations to build the museum, but San Juan was their final decision.

“Orgulloso (proud) is the term I would like to say in the fact that it’s time for the Rio Grande Valley to have a place to enjoy art in a beautiful environment,” said Cepeda.

For more information on the Gelman Stained Glass Museum and its upcoming events, you can visit their website.

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