{Corning Museum of Glass}

The Corning Museum of Glass was a prime way to spend a chilly rainy day, which also happened to be our second day on this adventure. We would not have known about this amazing museum if not for Alexis’ parents, who visited this museum earlier this summer. Situated just south of New York’s Finger Lakes region, the town of Corning seems a bit odd to be one of the meccas of the glass world.

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Founded in 1851 by Amory Houghton, in Somerville, Massachusetts, the Bay State Glass Company later moved to Williamsburg, NY and became the Brooklyn Flint Glass Works. In 1868, Amory Houghton Jr. moved the business to Corning, NY, where it then took the name Corning Glass Works.

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Jump ahead about 150 years later and here we are visiting the museum which just recently finished a $64 million expansion project designed by Thomas Phifer. This renovation focused on a larger contemporary gallery and Hot Glass Show space, and I must say, it is amazing.

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The Corning Museum of Glass is one of the most exciting museums I’ve been in. Alexis and I spend a good six hours there, which is a stretch of time for any museum. I contribute its appeal to the advantage of focusing on one broad subject, glass, and having many terrific demonstration areas. The museum not only displays the history of glass throughout the world in its utilitarian form, but also its importance in science and art. I’ve never been a big fan of glass art, because most of it seems too decorative and color saturated, but my whole opinion on contemporary glass has changed. In fact, it seems like such a perfect material for me to like because it is so much about light and space. It’s led me to pounder if I should explore working in glass for this very reason. I haven’t been this inspired by art since the James Turrell shows.

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The new contemporary gallery was a breath of fresh air with its minimalist approach of white curving walls and concrete floor. Because most contemporary glass art is 3D and not light sensitive, the galleries were flooded with natural light from overhead and the walls were bare. It was great to finally view sculpture against a plain white wall with plenty of breathing room between pieces. Sorry all you 2D artists, but because of you, galleries have to dim their lights and keep the walls straight (unless you’re the Guggenheim). It opens a whole new world when you don’t have to play by those rules.

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Finally, we thoroughly enjoyed watching the demonstrations of working with hot glass, fiber optics, breaking glass, and flame working. The demonstrators were top notch and explained things very well. The whole museum in general had a huge and friendly staff, and Corning must be a great contributor to the town’s economy.

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We highly recommend The Corning Museum of Glass!