About the Museum

The Rocky River Public Library, Rocky River, Ohio (a suburb of Cleveland) is the home of the Cowan Pottery Museum. The exhibits of the Cowan Pottery Museum are located within the Rocky River Public Library and represent a visual cultural heritage unique to Rocky River. It is American art pottery that was produced in Lakewood from 1912 to 1919 and in Rocky River from 1920 to 1931. The products of the Cowan Pottery Studio have gained significantly in interest and value both locally and nationally since then, but never as fast as they have since the opening of the Cowan Pottery Museum in 1978.

The Cowan Pottery Museum became part of the Rocky River Library in 1978 as a result of the library acquiring a large collection (over 800 pieces) of pottery from John Brodbeck, with funds from the Maude Michael estate.

Since the Museum opened, the size of the collection has grown to over 1300 pieces. Originally, only the most important pieces and a modest selection of others were on display in cabinets throughout the Library. In 2007, as part of a major renovation of the Library, a dedicated exhibit area was added to the existing display space. With the addition of the new display room, which includes the Museum’s famous “Jazz Bowl” and other renowned examples, approximately 40% of the collection is on view at any one time together with many pieces on loan from private collections. Exhibits in the display cabinets throughout the Library are rotated regularly to show groups by specific artists, of unique styles or functions, or representative of particular glaze types.

More details about the Museum are available at the Rocky River Public Library/Cowan Museum website.