The National Bottle Museum

Bottles.jpg

Bottles of fun?

By Jessica Pasko

A while ago I heard a rumor that there was a bottle museum somewhere near Saratoga. And, well, that sounded just odd enough for me to want to investigate.

Turns out that not only is there a bottle museum-- it's the National Bottle Museum. Yes, we have a National Bottle Museum. OK, why not?

It occupies an unassuming storefront in an old three story building in the village of Ballston Spa and it holds over 2,000 bottles from medicine and perfume bottles to liquor and beer bottles and just about every glass vessel in between.

So is it worth a trip?

Maybe, if you have a thing for bottles.

And apparently some people do. The museum attracts bottle enthusiasts from around the U.S. and from other countries. I spotted several international addresses in the guest book. It never really occurred to me that there would be a rabid community of bottle enthusiasts, but there is. And they gather at bottle conventions and shows throughout the nation, including an annual show held in Saratoga earlier this month.

The place is on the small side -- two floors packed with packed to the gills with clear, brown, blue and green glass bottles of every size and shape. I got a kick of out seeing some of the products that used to come packaged in the bottles -- stuff like "Munyon's Female Remedy." I'm assuming that was a medication for PMS.

Bottles in case.jpg

Other quirky things here include an entire case devoted to different sizes and colors of bottles in the shape of Washington's bust and a collection of so-called Vaseline glass bottles, which glow under a black light. The various glass candy containers are also pretty cool.

For the truly bottle-obsessed, there's a surprisingly large collection of reference materials for perusal. And that includes a bunch of information on Ballston Spa's bottling roots. Back when the village was still a thriving resort town, the bottling industry got a boost from the mineral water industry, which grew rapidly in the Saratoga Springs area.

bottle museum.jpg

Admission is by donation, so a visit to the bottle museum is pretty cheap entertainment.
Unless you're really into bottles, I wouldn't exactly suggest a special trip just for the museum -- but the village of Ballston Spa is much cuter than I realized. There are plenty of little gift and antique shops, several restaurants, a little coffeehouse called Coffee Planet and an adorable tea house called The Whistling Kettle to check out while you're in town.


Find It

The National Bottle Museum
76 Milton Ave.
Ballston Spa, NY 12020

Summer hours: daily from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
885-7589

Comments

sweet find, and if anyone is really interested, this place is pretty rad also, and in a neato town thats worth a daytrip

http://www.yeolwateringhole.com/

I don't know if it's still in opperation, and I've never visited it, but there is/was an Easter Egg museum in the area too.

It's located in Esperance, NY, which I believe is in Schoharie County just over the border from Quaker Street (a hamlet in the far reaches of Schenectady County).

The National Bottle Museum and other local sites were featured on the Travel Channel show "Cash and Treasures." It was pretty interesting and gave you a lot of tips on what is valuable and where to look.

One thing that is for sure, no matter WHAT the item or subject, there is always some 'rabid community of enthusiasts.'

Bottle digging has a long tradition in this country. In my first career I was an archaeologist and while working on a site near Williamsburg, Virginia we hit a treasure trove of old wine bottles.

http://forgingahead.net/archives/6218_1577292681/183798

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