Corning Museum of Glass - An Interplay of Science and Art

2 years ago

Driving back from Niagara falls towards Boston, we made a slight detour to go the Corning museum of glass. Located in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of upstate New York.

Established in 1951 by Corning Glass Works, also now Corning Incorporated, as a gift to the nation for the company’s 100th anniversary, The Corning Museum of Glass is a not-for-profit museum dedicated to telling the story of a single material —— glass.

Annually welcoming just under half a million visitors from around the world, the Museum's campus is home to the world’s most comprehensive collection of glass, the world’s foremost library on glass, and one of the top glass working schools in the world.

Nearly 50,000 objects representing more than 3,500 years of glass history are included in the Museum’s collection which the items range from the portrait of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh to contemporary glass art sculpture. The Museum’s curators and librarians actively acquire materials with the educators and artists organize exhibitions, public presentations, publish extensive research, and also showcase the way of making and daily demonstrations of contemporary glass working.

The stunning “Contemporary Art + Design Wing”, which houses a 26,000-square-foot contemporary gallery and 500-seat “Amphitheater Hot Shop” for showing how to make and design the glass. Visitors can learn about the science and technology behind innovations in glass through hands-on exhibits in the science and technology gallery, called the “Innovation Center”.

The Museum's Glass Collection showcases more than 35 centuries of glass artistry. The Museum's collection of contemporary artworks includes pieces by significant artists such as Klaus Moje, Karen LaMonte, Bruno Pedrosa, Dale Chihuly, Stanislav Libenský / Jaroslava Brychtová, and Josiah McElheny. The Glass Collection Galleries show the most comprehensive and celebrated glass collection in the world. The galleries explore Near Eastern, Asian, European, and American glass and glassmaking from antiquity through present day. The galleries contain objects representing every country and historical period in which glassmaking has been practiced such as Glass in Nature, Origins of Glassmaking, Glass of the Romans, Glass in the Islamic World, Early Northern European Glass, The Rise of Venetian Glassmaking, Glass in 17th-19th Century Europe, 19th Century European Glass, Asian Glass, Glass in America, Corning’s Crystal City, Paperweights of the World and Modern Glass.

In addition to these galleries, there is the Jerome and Lucille Strauss Study Gallery, Frederick Carder Gallery and Ben W. Heineman Sr. Gallery of Contemporary Glass. This Study Gallery is filled with a wide range of glass objects from all periods. The gallery is named after Museum benefactors Jerome and Lucille Strauss, who, by gift and bequest, provided the Museum with an unparalleled collection of 2,400 drinking glasses dating from ancient to modern times. The Frederick Carder Gallery features an extensive collection of glass designed by Frederick Carder , a gifted English designer who managed Steuben Glass Works from its founding in 1903 until 1932. During this time, the production of Steuben changed from various types of coloured glass to colourless glass.

The museum building is beautiful, to start with. Exhibits balance the history, science, and artistic aspects of glass — particularly is the current contemporary art exhibit. The museum rounds it all out with fantastic demonstrations and workshops, fostering the craft and art right before audiences’ eyes.

We thought the Corning Museum of Glass could be one of the most underrated museums in all of America simply because of the size and scope of displays things. Art, science and history of glass all in one museum. It’s a pretty unique combination. The museum focuses not solely on the glass made there in Corning, but also on things from around the world. The displays are visually stunning and some of the artistry is beyond reproach.

As a collector, there are three highlights that are worthy of collectors’ attention:

A)Gallery of contemporary glass
The Museum’s gallery of contemporary glass focuses on vessels, objects, sculptures, and installations made by international artists over the last 25 years. The purpose of the gallery is to show the different ways in which glass is used as a medium for contemporary art. The gallery is named for the Ben W. Heineman Sr. family, who donated a major collection of contemporary glass to the Museum in 2005.

B)Exhibitions year-round
The Museum offers exhibitions year-round. Past exhibitions have included: Medieval Glass for Popes, Princes and Peasants, East Meets West: Cross-Cultural Influences in Glassmaking in the 18th and 19th Centuries and Mirror to Discovery: The 200-Inch Disk and the Hale Reflecting Telescope at Palomar. Several special exhibitions are offered at the Museum and the Rakow Research Library each year, from shows focused on specific artists to major exhibitions on important topics in glass and glass history.

C)Glass Innovation Center
In the Glass Innovation Center, visitors can meet inventors whose ideas changed the world. The visitors have the opportunity to dabble with glass chemistry, experience the power of optical fibre and see themselves in the strange reflection of a flight simulator mirror. Lots to see and do here. The glass on display is rich and varied, and the skill of the makers goes beyond what you can imagine. The Innovation Center galleries currently on display include the Optics Gallery, Vessels Gallery and Windows Gallery.

We have to say the extent of the American Glassware collection is just astounding. If you have not been yet, you need to go. This museum is incredible — there is something for everyone who are the artist, the scientist, the historian, the collector, the art patron, the pop-culturalist, the student……both young and old and in-between. Excellent integration of technology too, from a proprietary app to exhibit interactive and even the chance to design a custom glass piece which you can pick up or have shipped to your home.

If you love art, or glass in particular, you could spend the full day exploring more deeply here.

Kids and Teens (17 and under) Free! Adult admission tickets are $20 and are good for two consecutive days. Discount off 15% ($17) for AAA/CAA, Students, Military and 62+.

* By OGP Business Reporters (Part of the source comes from Corning Museum) / Members Contribute File Photos


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