3,500 Centuries of Glass In Six Hours

I can’t rave enough about the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York. My husband and I toured it earlier this month, and expected to be there for about three hours. Instead we were immersed in glass, from its scientific and technical aspects to its artistry, and had to tear ourselves away late in the afternoon. The world renowned collection draws many visitors from abroad. A glass making demonstration we watched was simultaneously translated into Mandarin.

One display is indeed called 3,500 centuries of glass. If you’re a glass objects lover, then allow time for the research library and the Frederick Carder (manager of Steuben Glass for many years) gallery. For entertainment several live demonstrations are on offer, including breaking glass. Sorry, you can watch but not participate. You can also sign up to make glass yourself.

Corning itself seems a shadow of its former glory. It’s trying to get a hip downtown scene going in what’s called the Gaffer District, but how many pubs and massage/healing therapy places can a town support? Corning Glass, now called Corning Incorporated, is still headquartered there, though much of the manufacturing is done elsewhere. The modern headquarters building is behind one of the old entry gates.

But back to the glass. Here’s my highly curated selection of photos based on personal taste and how photogenic the pieces were. Glass reflects light so many of my photos show mostly the spotlights, not the object, despite having the flash turned off.

The above two images are from a special exhibit on Tiffany studio’s mosaic glass. Artisans worked up samples for commissioned works before doing the whole panel. The panels are gorgeous but not photogenic – at least not with my phone camera.

I didn’t note the artist for the above work, but it reminds me of time lapse videos that show seeds sprouting and swaying to catch the light.

The above won my “over the top ostentatious display of wealth” award.

A display case full of blue aurene glass, one of several thousand works designed by Frederick Carder, Steuben Glass Works manager from 1903-1932. The gallery is separate from the main museum, but is worth the short walk to reach it. My first response to this case was holy crap! Then I went on to the other cases and lost the power of speech.

If you visit, and I hope you do, I recommend you arrive right at 9 a.m. when the museum opens. The crowds build towards the afternoon. And they really love to shop.


Filed under Commentary, Everything Else

9 responses to “3,500 Centuries of Glass In Six Hours

  1. Ostentatious? What do you mean? We will be serving our Fourth of July barbecue from our glass table, while we all sit around in glass lounge chairs. We use the ship to hold fruit salad. We put potato salad in it once but that was too hard to clean out. 🙂

  2. I have lived in New York state almost my entire life and have never been to Corning! I’m ashamed. I know I’d love it–and your photos are very compelling.

  3. I remember when I was young and my folks returned from a cross country trip including a visit to the Corning Museum. They really enjoyed it and I’m pretty sure visited another time. I hope to go some day. Isn’t it incredible what some people can do with glass. Thanks for sharing some of your visit.

    • I think you should follow in your parents’ steps and venture east to Corning. The museum has been expanded greatly since 2005 and the curators keep buying glass. What I saw of working with glass intrigued me, but I think it’s a long process to get any good at it.

  4. Gayle Coots

    I’m lucky enough to be in driving distance of this beautiful place and often take my high school students there on field trips. They are always impressed.

  5. THAT looks like FUN! I can totally see why you got caught up in it. We drove through the area in 2000 but haven’t been back since. Time to plan another visit (someday… when??)

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