The Murano Glass Museum was founded in 1861 by the Abbot Vincenzo Zanetti and the First Deputy of the Municipality, Antonio Colleoni. The project aimed to establish an archive in which all the examples illustrating the history and life of the island could be kept.
However, due to the high number of donations, the simple archive became a real exhibition of works of art; the collection contained not just antique pieces belonging to private or museum collections but also donations from the furnaces of the island.
Today there are numerous glass pieces arranged chronologically in the museum, starting from the Roman finds of the first three centuries after Christ in to the archaeological section, up to the 20th century.
The archaeological collection, in particular, is composed of artifacts brought by the Abbot Zanetti (founder and first director of the Museum), collections from the Correr Museum and the deposits of the Archaeological Superintendency, specifically, the Levi legacy and pieces from the Museum of San Donato di Zara. The glasses found by the Zara museum are of Roman origin dating to between 1st and 3rd century AD, found in the necropolis of Jader (Zara) - mainly glass olle in which the ashes of the corpses were inserted - and Aenona (Nona).
There is a wide variety of glasses that highlight the degree of skill and technical knowledge achieved through the invention of the blow pipe (Palestine, 1st century BC). Thanks to this technique, the process of perfecting the glassmaking art began, which meant that glass objects could be made with extreme lightness and in a variety of shapes. The very first pieces in glass (generally of small dimensions such as containers for perfumes and ointments) were blown in simple or double moulds - it is assumed to be clay or even metal - while the decorations were made freehand.
The collection goes on to demonstrate the evolution of the technique and the skill of the glass masters from the 15th to the 20th centuries. Contemporary glass works are often exhibited in the grand garden.
The home of the Museum is in Murano, along the Fondamenta Giustinian, at Palazzo Giustiniani or of the Vescovi di Torcello.