The cornerstone of the Oshkosh Public Museum is the historic 1909 English Tudor Revival residence of Edgar P. and Mary Jewell Sawyer designed by local architect William Waters. The interior decorations and furnishings of the home were executed by the prestigious Tiffany Studios of New York. Accents include stained glass windows, bronze grilles, light fixtures and tapestry wall coverings. In addition, Tiffany orchestrated the use of a different type of distinct hardwood in each of the rooms on the first floor - African mahogany, Central American primavera, American chestnut, maple and quarter sawn oak.
One of the most recognizable and stunning Tiffany features of the Sawyer home is the iridescent landscape themed stained glass window on the landing of the grand staircase. Facing west, the sheer beauty of this one-of-a-kind masterpiece was so eloquently enhanced by the glorious sunlight that shown through during the day. The Steiger Wing addition in 1982 blocked the window from the natural light and fluorescent lights were installed behind the colored glass, but the tubes were distracting and flickered. In 2013, the Museum invested in a new lighting system that now provides the window with a pure, glowing, even source of light. Manufactured by Rosco, the LitePad product uses bounced LED light transmitted across the surface of a thin panel. The LightPad panels are only a third of an inch thick, use far less electricity, last longer, and show off the glass in a way that better reveals the window's beauty.
Another remarkable Tiffany stained glass window is an archway depicting wisteria and intertwined vines that once framed the double doors leading to a sun parlor, or conservatory, extending from the Sawyer Den. The conservatory was demolished with the Steiger Wing addition. The Tiffany wisteria stained glass window was relocated to the front entrance of the Museum and today frames the entrance to a modern version of the sunroom. A print recreating the view of the conservatory and the stained glass archway has replaced the original glasswork of the once exterior wall. The replication is also equipped with the new light source.
An original Tiffany stained glass window deserves the best presentation, and this project helps achieve that goal. Funds from Frederick and Marion Durow's bequest to the Museum in 2009 made it possible.