We all use glass, but do we really know what it is? How is it made?
If you’ve wondered these things, or if you’ve never even given it much thought, there’s somewhere you need to visit, and it’s right here in the Finger Lakes!
Opened in 1951, with just 2,000 objects, the Corning Museum of Glass has grown quite a bit since then, holds over 50,000 objects, and is a destination in and of itself for guests all around the world.
Walking up to the front door of the museum, it is immediately apparent that this is no ordinary museum. The front entrance is made completely of glass; from the doors to the walls and everything else. When you walk in, you’re greeted by the admissions desk, the entrance to the new Contemporary Art & Design Wing, and access to the beginning of your walk through the museum and an escalator down to the gift shop.
This museum is not only filled with historical and significant art pieces made completely of glass, but also many hands-on demonstrations and activities. For the museum, history, part of the museum, there is plenty though. When you walk in, you are guided back to ancient times, back when glass was first made and utilized, and learn about old techniques and uses for glass in ancient times. The museum then takes you through the eras, with beautiful pieces such as mosaics, dishware, sculptures, home decorations, and more, all made of glass.
Next comes the fun stuff- demonstrations such as glass-blowing, mini sculpture making, and glass breaking. The museum is also full of interactive attractions like a giant curved mirror that messes with your mind, water bending light demonstrations, and fiber optics education (fiber optic technology was developed by Corning Incorporated). There’s a structure over 20 feet long shaped in such a way that you can whisper to someone on the other side and they’ll hear you perfectly – even with outside noise happening. There’s informational videos and boards, and lots of cool things to discover. This is a museum for kids just as much as adults.
The newest portion of the museum is their Contemporary Art & Design wing, which is all white and reminds me of a spaceship. Inside are the most quirky and modern sculptures of glass you’ll ever see. The installations are breathtaking and it’s almost like you’ve entered a surreal world. There’s a mile-long rope made of tiny glass beads, sheets of glass that look like there’s a rock inside, and trees made of drinking glasses. The contemporary wing is both minimalist but intricate at the same time.
It’s fun to complete your day at the Corning Museum of Glass by making your very own glass. You can choose between a variety of things, such as a glass flower, sand-blasting a cup you design yourself, or making a small vase. This happens in a separate building within the museum campus, and sometimes even outside. Earlier this summer I made a glass flower, and a few weeks ago my cousin sandblasted a glass. She even put her name into the design – so she’ll always know which glass is hers! Before you leave, don’t forget to check out the gift shop as well. It’s huge and has everything from dinnerware, to wine glasses, to toys, clothes, jewelry, and home decór (including Christmas ornaments!).
The Corning Museum of Glass is the biggest glass museum in the world, and its parent company Corning Incorporated is one of the world’s leaders in glass innovation and technology. Have you heard of Gorilla Glass? It’s an extremely durable glass used in iPhones and many other technologies. Corning created it. They’ve also created the bendable Willow Glass. The company is constantly one step ahead of the world of technology and glass innovations, so come visit their very own museum, I promise you won’t be disappointed. It’s a museum like no other.
For more information about the museum and pricing, visit cmog.org.