The Corning Museum of glass has taken upon itself the responsibility of educating the world about one of the antique arts – the art of glass blowing. It is engaged in spreading all the multifaceted aspects of glass art throughout the world – its history, art, science and techniques. The Museum has put together a number of programs for this purpose.
Hundreds of glass art enthusiasts visit the museum everyday and acquire firsthand knowledge of the history and techniques of the art through many live shows and hands on experiences. The museum authorities conduct these programs wherever that can – on the streets, in cruises and of course, inside the museum.
This wonderful establishment is a gift to the nation by the Corning Glass works currently, known as The Corning Incorporated, on their 100th anniversary in 1951. Now this proves to be their gift to the whole world.
The museum was created as a small glass walled building, where myriads of glass articles narrating the history of the art were displayed. But in 1972 the Hurricane Agnes destroyed many of these invaluable art pieces together with a considerable number of books and materials that contained the history of glass making. The management of the museum had a tough time in salvaging what was left.
By 1978, the number of exhibits in the museum made an extension necessary. The architects who had the bitter memory of the 1972 incident, decided to build it on concrete pillars that were raised high above the flood line. This is a rambling structure connected to the old museum by brightly lit glass corridors and ramps. The present Corning Museum of Glass is a spectacular architecture worthy of its contents.
The museum is a non-profit-organization dedicated to the education of glass making. Now the Museum is the single most establishment that is engaged in the noble mission of perpetuating the glass art.
The galleries of the museum proudly exhibit glass art of about 35 centuries. It includes glass art pieces from countries all over the world. The works of the most famous glass masters grace the galleries. It is actually a study in the way glass is used by the artisans all over the world.
The museum gives equal importance to the contemporary glass works and antique craftsmanship. The visitors can have a journey through the centuries of glass making to reach the present era of innovations and integrations of many styles. The art pieces are on a year-round exhibition in the museum.
Besides feasting their eyes with the magnificent works of legendary craftsmen of all centuries, the visitors get a chance to try their hand in glass blowing in the ‘make your own glass’ program of the museum. There are live demonstrations in glass blowing and shaping which offers a chance for the tourists to revel in the mysteries of glass making. They can have a detailed knowledge of the effects of the ways the glass is heated or cooled.
On the whole, a visit to the Corning Museum of glass is not just an entertainment but also an educational program in the various aspects of glass making.
by Marina Chernyak