To preserve the history of our nation’s first industry: Bottle and glass making by storing and exhibiting collections and artifacts for the purpose of educating the public.
Millions of glass bottles per year were manufactured by hand for the mineral waters of Saratoga County alone, enabling the area to participate in world commerce during the early 1800s. A glassworks set in the wilderness above the Town of Greenfield employed hundreds of workers and glassblowers from the 1840s to the 1860s. In that era, all bottles were manufactured exclusively with hand tools and lung power.
One entire wall of the museum’s first floor showcases over 3,000 bottles of many colors, shapes and forms. All of these bottles are accessioned into the collection to be held in trust for the public. When creating interpretive exhibits, borrowed bottles and related objects are often combined with those from the collection. In some cases, all exhibit objects may be borrowed. The museum has access to collections all over the United States, and borrowing objects from members makes frequent changes and more spectacular exhibits possible.
The historic three-story brick commercial building on Milton Avenue (Route 50) that houses the National Bottle Museum is situated in what was a flourishing resort community in the 1800s that boasted many popular mineral water springs. Indeed, Ballston Spa was a popular “watering hole” for the rich and famous during the heyday of the mineral water industry.
Museum Hours are 10:00 AM-4:00 PM, Weds -Saturday, closed Sunday through Tuesday, The museum is open late on most First Fridays. Contact us for details.
No longer advertised or widely marketed as cures, only two mineral water springs continue to flow in the village. Both are within a short walking distance from the museum. The Old Iron Spring on Front Street flows year round while The Sans Souci flows freely during the summer months. (The museum is directly across the street from where the world famous Sans Souci Hotel once stood.)
The world-wide mineral water industry was just one of many industries creating a tremendous demand for glass bottles. America was the world’s largest producer of fine essence oils. The west was being settled, creating a demand for millions of whiskey flasks and spirits bottles to help men cope with loneliness and hardship. Every pharmacy, every producer of patent medicines, every brewery, dairy farm and manufacturer, required hand-made glass bottles. Machine made bottles were not manufactured until after Michael Owens patented his inventions in 1903.
Current members of the museum reside across the United States, and several Provinces of Canada. More than 30 bottle-collecting clubs from across the nation help to support the museum as well. Individual clubs can have as many as 2,000 or as few as 10 members. Almost every club holds an annual Bottle Show and Sale.
The National Bottle Museum sponsors its own Bottle Show and Sale, which draws dealers and collectors from across the United States, Canada, and sometimes Great Britain. The Saratoga Show, as it is known, serves as the Museum’s main annual fundraiser. The Saratoga Bottle Show is the first Sunday in June. Contact the museum at (518) 885-7589 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The National Bottle Museum is a not-for-profit (501 C-3) educational institution chartered by the Board of Regents of the New York State Education Department.