Monday to Friday: 8.00 AM - 5.00 PM Saturday: 8.00 AM - 12.00 PM Sundays and Public Holidays: Closed
Adults – INR 50 Children – INR 25
Mauritius Glass Gallery, Mauritius Overview
If you have a preconceived notion about Mauritius being only the land of beaches and resorts, the number of spectacular places to visit this paradise island has to offer to you will undoubtedly leave you flabbergasted. Joining the long list of unique tourist attractions in the island is the Mauritius Glass Gallery.
Located in Phoenix, the Mauritius Glass Gallery is widely famous for producing remarkable souvenirs made by recycling glass. Varieties of pieces are made in the workshop by using traditional methods, and they are put up for display in the small museum. This is home to some of the finest exemplifications of glass art where skilled artisans display their expertise through these handmade artefacts. Starting from watching the traditional process of glass blowing to having a glass-model of your hand or foot imprint is something you can cherish in the Mauritius Glass Gallery.
Founded in 1991, the Mauritius Glass Gallery is a subsidiary of the Phoenix Beverages Limited, which is famous for its beer - a favourite beverage all over Mauritius. Everything is recycled and handmade in the premises of the Grass Gallery. The Glass Museum was inaugurated in 2001, and it has been visited by many celebrities from all over the world since then. You can see the footprint and handprint of some of the renowned personalities in the museum. The decorations inside the museum are dominated by glass, and the dim-lit ambience makes it more appealing. The Mauritius Glass Gallery has 30 employees; seven of them being appointed for glass blowing. One of the glass blowers has been a part of the Glass Gallery since the time it opened, in 1991!
The motivation and idea behind creating this company were directed towards the preservation of the local environment. The former Mauritius Breweries Ltd and Phoenix Camp Minerals share credit in initiating this cause, and the primary motive was to recycle the glass waste coming out of both these companies.
Inside the Museum
The 'Hands of Fame' is the first thing you get to explore right after you enter the Mauritius Glass Gallery. The ambience of the room matches it vintage stature - dim-lit and quiet; you may have to squint your eyes a little to read the names correctly. The hand imprints are organised into different categories such as TV personalities, sportsperson, writers and so on. Besides, another category is relatively new and is dedicated for the well-known Mauritian people. It is a good initiative and helps the tourist to know some of the local personalities. The motive for launching this project was to help the underprivileged through the funds being raised.
If you want, you can even have your handprint or footprint sculpted in glass in any way you ask for. You can also choose to have a hand-frame made for your family and children with the dates engraved on it. To make things even more romantic, you can immortalise your partner's hand with yours in a heart shaped glass. The process of creating these imprints is fascinating. The hand and footprints are made on a sand base, which is used as a mould where the hot melted glass is poured.
The 'misshapen' wine glass is the gallery's pride. So is the 'Famous Offset Glass' which has an unusual stem and is quite a unique coincidental product.
Moving out of the museum, you will find yourself in a short corridor with distorted mirrors mounted on the walls. You can have fun in this section by seeing the distorted reflections of your self - short, fat, tall in different mirrors. At the end of the corridor there is a classic, undistorted mirror with an entertaining little description reading - ?And finally the funniest of all? ? to bring your senses working again.
After exiting the corridor, you will enter the next room that has a very distinctive characteristic ? high temperature. This is the heart of the glass-making workshop where you can see the artisans blowing and handling glass. Watching the transformation from the red molten blob to a hard transparent glass in the split of a second is a fantastic experience.
The Process of Glass Making
The process begins by taking out the hot melted glass from the oven. Then it is transferred to the end of a long pipe, and the glass is blown into a mould so that all the glasses have a uniform shape. Once that is completed, it is transferred over to two artisans who work on the foot of the glass. After that, it is put into an oven specially designed to cool it down overnight. It is a slow process as a faster cooldown break the glass. After being cooled, the top is heated once more so that it can be cleanly cut to obtain the glass.
The skilled artisans have become used to working while being watched by the visitors. They are very attentive in arranging their seating position in such a way that people can see what they are doing.
There is a small display section beside the working area, which contains all the necessary information related to the history of glass and the various organisations that are connected to the Mauritius Glass Gallery. The design is old school, and there is a lot of scopes to improve the presentation of the information in a better, entertaining way. That brings you to end of the museum tour.
The Glass Gallery Store
Do not forget to visit the shop, even if it is for a few minutes as it is worth the time. Check out the vast range of products that are on sale. They also take orders depending on your needs, for example, if you want a slightly different model or need to order products in large quantities. The price range starts from INR 100 for small figures and goes all the way up to INR 8000 for the bigger ones. This shop is by far one of the best places in Mauritius to buy handmade souvenirs.
The most popular product in the shop is the Phoenix glass, which is made from a Phoenix bottle. Other products include handy house objects, decorative glass figurines, large vases, lamps, displays, wine glasses, ashtrays, lampshades, candleholders, etc. You can also find the Dodo, Pink Pigeon, Echo Parakeet and Mauritian Kestrel being eternally engraved into the glass. There are also some products from various organisations as well.
The entire tour of the Mauritius Glass Gallery does not take long. It can be fruitful, especially for the children, as they learn a lot about the glass making process and also about recycling and environmental conservation. And of course, let us not forget about the corridor with the distorted mirrors!
So plan a trip to the Mauritius Glass Gallery, get an up-close glassmaking experience, have fun in the premises and take back some Mauritian souvenirs on your way back!
On reaching Phoenix roundabout, you will see a tall totem right in the centre. You have to take the exit that leads to Phoenix Camp Minerals that will take you to the industrial area. Take a right from there and keep moving forward on the road until you the see the Mauritius Glass Gallery sign. You will find the parking area for cars and buses on the left.