TOP New York based museum boss Dr David Whitehouse was among the distinguished glass experts attending this year’s International Festival of Glass.

The 70-year-old, a senior scholar at the prestigious Corning Museum of Glass in New York State, jetted over from the States for the four-day festival to see the Stourbridge made replica of the famous Portland Vase and the associated book by Graham Fisher for which he wrote the foreword to.

Dr Whitehouse, who grew up not far from Stourbridge - in the Worcestershire village of Wildmoor, Bromsgrove, described the 2012 Portland Vase Project as a “triumph” and a “beautiful way to celebrate 400 years of local glassmaking”.

He was also full of praise for the festival, held in the Glass Quarter over the Bank Holiday weekend, saying: “I've been to lots of conferences and conventions and this has a really good feel about it. It seems to be very successful; obviously they're doing it right.”

During his trip to the area – the esteemed great-grandfather of six also made a return visit to his former home village where at the tender age of ten he decided on his chosen profession after receiving a book about famous archaeological digs as a Christmas present.

It was somewhat different to how he remembered it though.

He said: “I didn't know how it was going to feel - 50 years is a long time.

“I didn't know whether it would be a big mistake. 50 years ago Wildmoor was a very small village. Most people worked locally - it wasn't a prosperous village.

“Today just about everybody who lives there has got a lot of money - all the old houses have been extended - they're bigger, smarter and very well kept.

“It's changed from being part of rural Worcestershire to being an upscale suburb of Birmingham.

“When I was brought up there only my father was a professional. There were no lawyers and no accountants.”

After studying at his local primary school in Catshill and then at King Edward’s School in Birmingham, he landed a place at Cambridge University to study archaeology.

Work on digs at archaeological sites in Italy and Iran followed and in 1984 he left a post in Rome to take up the role of chief curator at the most famous glass museum in the world - in the US city of Corning around 250 miles from New York City.

By 1992 he was director of the museum and by 1999 he was executive director.

But in 2011 he left the post to become the museum’s senior scholar - to focus on a number of projects including writing and publishing additional volumes on Islamic glass.