Skip to main content

Minnesota's most famous mansion will be showing off a radioactive item from the museum's collection. 

Glensheen in Duluth launched its Obscura exhibit last summer and has added a few "spooky" items to the collection that can be viewed on mansion tours through Oct. 31, a news release says. 

On display will be a collection of Vaseline Glass by Vaseline Glass Inc., which is renowned for its "curious light green color and black and gold specks," the release says.

Vaseline Glass is popular as a collectible due to its unique coloring that comes from adding uranium dioxide when the glass formula is made, which means these pieces are in fact radioactive. 

The pieces glow bright fluorescent green under ultraviolet light. 

According to Vaseline Glass Collection Inc., Vaseline Glass was primarily made from 1840 to just before World War II, and then continued from 1959 to the present. However, "the government confiscated all supplies of uranium during WWII and halted all production of Vaseline Glass from approximately 1943 until the ban was lifted in November 1958." Due to tight regulations on uranium dioxide, only limited quantities of Vaseline Glass are still made.

It's worth noting that Vaseline Glass isn't harmful — the emissions from the glass are "just slightly stronger than normal background radiation that we are all exposed to on a daily basis," Vaseline Glass Collection Inc. said. 

Glensheen estimates the specific glassware on display is probably from the early 1900s and was likely picked up by one of the Congdons, the family who built the 39-room Lake Superior estate in the early 1900s, on their worldly travels. 

glensheen obscura

The Obscura exhibit, which has been extended until the end of the month, shows the Congdons didn't limit themselves to collecting the fine pieces of art you can find on tours of the mansion. They also acquired unique pieces from their travels around the world, some downright creepy dolls (OK, maybe they weren't creepy when the Congdons bought them), a skull with a snake and a frog, and rare maps, among other things.

Glensheen says some of the items on display are a "glimpse into a life that isn't much different than yours." Everyone has that crazy aunt who "keeps everything and gives weird but loved homemade presents," the museum notes, but admits that calling the items normal would be wrong. 

All these items are typically in storage in one of Glensheen's 23 closets but have been on display since June. The exhibit can be viewed for all who tour the mansion through Oct. 31. 

Follow Bring Me The News on Twitter for the latest breaking news

Glensheen, which the University of Minnesota Duluth owns and operates, is currently offering classic tours and full mansion tours, both of which are self-guided.

Tickets for the class tours are available to buy online here, while you can only buy the full mansion tour tickets at the estate. Grounds passes are also available but do not include the Glensheen Obscura exhibit.

The estate is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and it will be open late, until 7 p.m., on Friday and Saturday of MEA weekend (Oct. 22-23).

During the month of October, Glensheen is also hosting community events, including Whiskey Wednesdays on the grounds from 6-9 p.m., Cider Saturdays from noon-5 p.m., and the Great Glensheen Pumpkin Hunt, where people can try to find nine pumpkins that have been hidden throughout the estate. 

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-11-29 at 7.26.15 AM

Multiple crashes, spinouts in Twin Cities as snow falls Tuesday morning

The metro could get up to six inches of snow throughout the day.

Screen Shot 2022-11-28 at 5.39.25 PM

Couple critically injured in Kanabec County home attack identified

Jeff and Becky Ponto were found critically injured in their home Sunday morning.

police tape

Assault charges filed against Red Wing man shot by deputy

The reportedly suicidal man crashed his van into a power pole before he allegedly began chasing a deputy at the scene.

Winter scene snow storm snowfall highway driving traffic - Joe Nelson Feb 2022 4

Winter storm warning for Twin Cities: 6+ inches possible

The heaviest snow could move through the Twin Cities.

police lights

Carver man charged after standoff with police in Prior Lake

The man had been fleeing from police when he allegedly broke into a home and the standoff ensued.


41-year-old Sherburne County man killed after crashing car into ditch

The crash occurred Sunday night in Palmer Township.

Screen Shot 2022-11-28 at 4.01.10 PM

Around 200 rescued after ice breaks free on Upper Red Lake

Red Lake — both Upper and Lower — is the largest freshwater lake in the state.

Screen Shot 2022-11-28 at 9.38.30 AM

St. Paul featured on Hallmark Channel's 'Christmas Cam' livestream

Downtown's dazzling display can be viewed from anywhere in the world.


Charges: Drunk driver almost struck Bemidji parade spectators

The man told police he was trying to attend the parade himself.


The SCHEELS Experience

Whether looking for reliable hunting and fishing gear or new clothing and shoes, Eden Prairie SCHEELS is a one-stop shopping experience for the whole family.


glensheen obscura

Glensheen Mansion will show off its rarely-seen peculiar items this summer

The items, like creepy dolls and a skull, are usually tucked away in the mansion's many closets.

Christmas at Glensheen Mansion

Glensheen Mansion reopening with 'Never Ending Christmas'

Museums can reopen under the state's new COVID rules.

dinosaur glensheen (1)

Dinosaurs are taking over Glensheen Mansion in Duluth

It's part of a partnership between the Duluth Children's Museum and the historic estate.

Amid coronavirus pandemic, Glensheen Mansion launches virtual tours

You can catch them on Facebook Live every morning during the week.

Screen Shot 2021-06-21 at 9.38.21 AM

Watch: Glensheen Mansion featured in latest one-shot drone video

The video captures the estate as it would have been soon after it was completed in 1908.

Glensheen Mansion is free to visit on Sunday

The popular stately home is throwing open its doors for no charge.