Oktoberfest: One of the world’s largest stein exhibits located in Pomona

Curator of the Wilson’s Mettlach collection, Eugen “Gino” Ruzi talks about the display athe American Museum of Ceramic Art in Pomona, Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. There are approximately 3,000 pieces of Mettlach wares, including steins, in the collection which is the largest in the world. About 500 of these are on display in the lower level at all times and on view to the public. (Eric Reed/For The Sun)

 

The Robert and Colette Wilson Mettlach Collection

 When: Noon-5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday and noon-9 p.m. the second Saturday of every month.

Where: American Museum of Ceramic Art, 399 N. Garey Ave., Pomona.

Admission: $5-$7; free for children ages 12 and under.

Information: 909-865-3146, www.amoca.org.

 

 As Oktoberfest beckons, let’s lift the lid on one of the best-kept secrets in Pomona.

The city that’s home of the Los Angeles County Fair has one of the world’s largest collections of Mettlach beer steins on permanent view at the American Museum of Ceramic Art. The steins depict the history of European thought and art, from the Enlightenment to the Industrial Revolution.

“When people see this collection, they say, ‘Wow! This exists in Pomona?’ To tell you the truth, not even Mettlach has as large a collection as we have here,” says Eugen “Gino” Ruzi, curator of the Robert and Colette Wilson Mettlach Collection at AMOCA.

For the philistines out there who can’t imagine beer in anything but a bottle or can, a stein is a decorative mug with a fancy pewter lid attached to it. And the steins produced at the Villeroy and Boch factory in the western German village of Mettlach during the late 19th and early 20th centuries were the most celebrated when it came to craftsmanship and beauty.

Robert Wilson, who goes by Bob, says he acquired his first piece while antique shopping with his folks in 1943.

What caught his eye: a decorative mug that featured a scenic illustration of a foppish man sporting a yellow feather in his wide-brimmed hat from the German folktale “Der Trompeter von Säckingen.”

Read more in Barrera’s story OKTOBERFEST.

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