Friday, April 15, 2022

Must-Visit: The Corning Museum of Glass in NY State


Last Fall, I drove on Interstate 86 when I saw the sign for the exit of Corning and shortly after a large sign for the Corning Glass Museum.  As it was already late afternoon, I decided to stop and visit the museum the next morning.  Right at the entrance is the "Fern Green Tower" by Dale Chihuly, a gift of this famous artist. From here I wandered from one impressive glass art installation to the next with outstanding works by world-famous artists.

Almost everyone has "CorningWare" or "Pyrex" baking dishes in their kitchen - once created by Corning. But that's not all that the Corning company produces: Corning is a leading manufacturer of glass used in liquid crystal displays.  The company also produces optical fiber and cable for the communications industry.  While Corning is a household name, much of the work it does is behind the scenes, producing glass that goes into other manufacturers’ products. 

The Corning Museum of Glass is home to the largest collection of art glass in the world.  Located in the heart of the Finger Lakes Wine Country of New York State, about four hours northwest of New York City, the Museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. year-round.  It was well worth spending more than half a day at this wonderful place, full of ancient and modern art.  I can wholeheartedly recommend a visit!

While exploring the historic exhibits at the world-renowned Corning Museum of Glass, I also examined a few stunning magnificent Tiffany windows up close, as well as some elaborate Tiffany lamps.

What started out as a small glass factory in the late 1800s has transformed into Corning Incorporated, a worldwide leader in glass technology and innovation. It’s really no surprise that Corning would become home to The Corning Museum of Glass: the largest glass museum in the world with art and artifacts dating back over 3,500 years, as well as new work hot out of the furnace. 

Some of the most ancient glass items were mold-blown bottles, shaped like a bunch of grapes, made in Syria, Lebanon, or Israel, part of the Roman Empire, made between 100 and 200 B.C.  Cameo Glass Fragment with Grape Harvest, probably made in Italy, around 25 B.C.   A Decorative 'Wine Thief' was Probably made in Spain, between 1940 and 1980.

The Corning Museum of Glass is much more than a museum – it's a hands-on educational experience. Become a glassmaker yourself at the 'Make Your Own Glass' workshop. For an additional fee, you can design your own glass flower, ornament, bead, fusing, or sandblasting project. 

The Guest Artist Series features world-class visiting artists at work in the Amphitheater Hot Shop. These special, extended demonstrations provide a fascinating peek at the techniques, artistry, and improvisation that comprise contemporary glassmaking. The 'Hot Glass Demo Team' assists and narrates for each artist, answering audience questions in real-time.

No museum would be without a coffee shop and a store, as it is here too, where visitors can acquire items made of glass, from small earrings and keychains to vases, bowls, and glass sculptures - plus every book covering glass, one could imagine.


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