Sweeney Glass and Family Drama in Wheeling
Digital Storytelling, Part 1
– by Maria Martik, Vanessa Martik, and Rebecca Wockley
[See video at end of article]
As Freshmen in the Honors program at California University of Pennsylvania, we are required to take Honors Composition 150. The class helps us learn how to properly write and format papers and serves an introduction to the Honors program in general. In Dr. Fisanick’s class, we were taught how to use our writing skills to transform our words into digital stories. A digital story is a new form of storytelling that is increasingly becoming more popular today. As a class, we traveled to Oglebay Park where we were then separated into smaller groups to investigate places in the area to uncover the history of Wheeling. The three of us had the opportunity to travel to Oglebay’s very own Glass Museum where we uncovered the history of Sweeney Glass and the famous Sweeney Punch Bowl.
While touring the Glass Museum, we chose to focus on the famous Sweeney Punch Bowl because of the exciting story of the Sweeney brothers. We had the pleasure to work with Holly McCluskey, the Curator of Glass at the Museum, who was ecstatic about our decision to focus on the Punch Bowl and aided us in finding all the information necessary for the project. Our topic was so unique because the bowl is considered to be the largest cut piece of glass in the world, standing at five feet tall and weighing roughly 220 pounds. The Sweeney Glass Company itself was one of the most famous glass companies in the world, making it such an iconic piece of Wheeling history.
While creating the featured video, we were able to learn an enormous amount of information about the Glass Museum in particular and Wheeling in general. We learned about how important and prominent glass was to Wheeling and how it made such a great impact on the town. We were especially fascinated by the unexpected family complications between the Sweeney brothers, and how there were initially three punch bowls, but only one remains today. While in Wheeling, we were able to visit and explore other sites as well, such as the Greenwood Cemetery, where the punch bowl once stood.
All three of us were in awe of the glass on display at the museum, and were even more shocked when we were able to handle some of the famous glass ourselves. The presentation of the videos also allowed us to see how important the entire city of Wheeling is to so many people who have grown up in the area. It was very interesting to see the local townspeople come together and even share some of their memories about the sites and other areas around Wheeling.
Anyone who views our story of the Sweeney Punch Bowl should visit the site for themselves. The Glass Museum at Oglebay Park in Wheeling, West Virginia has some true hidden treasures that people may overlook. The employees who work at the museum are more than willing to share the history and give in-depth tours to all visitors.
Digital Storytelling: Sweeney Glass
[Note: This is the first entry in a five part series by CalU Honors Students.
See Part 2: West Liberty’s Rare Book Collection]