Property investor Cameel Halim cultivated a fascination with stained glass following his emigration from Egypt to the United States.
Upon Halim’s arrival in the 1960s, he was awed by America’s sublime churches, but surprised at their neglect—especially that of their magnificent stained glass windows. So he began acquiring discarded window panes from demolished buildings and amassed an impressive collection of not only 19th and 20th century stained glass masterpieces, but also historic clocks and watches.
Halim’s expansive holdings constitute his eponymous Time & Glass Museum, which opened to the public in the city of Evanston—located just north of Chicago—in the fall of 2017. The museum showcases some 80 technicolor works of stained glass and over 1,100 clocks from all over the world across a sprawling five-floor space. As far as Halim is aware, his Time & Glass Museum is the first of its kind in the world, as private collections of such art forms are not often made public.
Four of the museum’s galleries showcase Halim’s exquisite stained glass acquisitions, from an $85,000 Louis Comfort Tiffany window portraying Saint John the Divine to glassworks forged by Tiffany’s rival studio, John La Farge. Halim’s collection has been sourced from multiple outlets, including churches, auction houses, and shuttered museums.
The majority of Halim’s holdings, however, are comprised of spectacular clocks, which have been impeccably conserved with the help of an on-staff expert in timepiece mechanics. The museum boasts eight rooms specifically dedicated to the exhibition of international clocks and watches, each organized by their country of origin.
In addition to his permanent collection of timepieces and stained glass, Halim has designated a special space for temporary exhibitions organized collaboratively with other institutions. A banquet hall topped with an arresting Tiffany ceiling is available for private events, and the museum hosts public cultural events on-site.