Ryerss’ stained glass stands out

The historic museum and library in Burholme Park is in the process of restoring its cupola windows.

Ryerss Museum and Library, located in Burholme Park, has been in the process of restoring the stained glass windows in its cupola for the past five years. JACK TOMCZUK / TIMES PHOTO

Perhaps the most striking aspect of the Ryerss Museum and Library in Burholme Park are the stained glass windows that sit inside the mansion’s cupola. The windows radiate yellow and blue light in the sunshine and are illuminated at night.

“I think of them as a real landmark in the community,” said Martha Moffat, who manages the site for the city Department of Parks and Recreation.

For the past five years, the Friends of Ryerss and employees at the museum and library have been raising funds to have the windows restored. They have been renovating the windows one-by-one, and five have been completed so far out of a total of eight.

“We’re getting closer to where we want to be,” Moffat said.

Most recently, Ryerss received a $2,500 grant from the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. That money was matched by the Friends of Ryerss, and the $5,000 project to restore the fifth window was completed over the summer.

Robert Ryerss, whose father built the mansion in 1859, installed the cupola and the stained glass windows at the property in 1881, Moffat said. Not much work has been done to that part of the building since then, she added.

“They (the windows) were in fair to poor condition” before the renovations, Moffat said.

Germantown-based Beyer Studio, which specializes in stained glass, has been commissioned to restore the windows, and the Fairmount Park Conservancy has repaired the wood frames, according to Moffat.


Ryerss Museum and Library, 7370 Central Ave., was established in 1910 and includes items collected by the Ryerss family. Many of the quirky artifacts and oddities on display were purchased during trips the family took to Asia.

The site also contains a small community library. It is not affiliated with the Free Library of Philadelphia, but local residents can borrow books by signing up for a free library card.

Both the museum and library are free and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For more information, visit www.ryerssmuseum.org or call 215–685–0599. ••

Jack Tomczuk can be reached at jtomczuk@newspapermediagroup.com