Late in 1993 a group of glass enthusiasts decided to form a Friends organisation for the Museum. The first meeting was held at Dudley Art Gallery in March 1994, and The Friends were delighted and honoured that Mary Boydell, from Sotheby's in Ireland, gave the inaugural lecture.

At present there are more than 300 members throughout the world and 18 corporate members. Members' interests range from those interested in the local history to avid glass collectors and researchers.

The Friends support the work of the Museum through a range of activities. One of the invaluable methods of support is through The Friends' Purchase Fund. The Museum lost its acquisitions budget a few years ago due to local government cuts and purchases for the collection are now made thanks to The Friends, grants from other bodies and donations.

To date the Friends have raised over £50,000 to help with acquisitions and match-funding for grant applications.

Other activities organised by The Friends, called the Facets programme, include an annual series of lectures on glass topics by guest speakers, visits to glass factories and studios, talks on major exhibitions at the Museum, providing refreshment facilities at events, and a Christmas party. These events provide opportunities for fund-raising, learning and, of course, enjoyment.

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