Corning Museum of Glass

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On Thursday the 4th we drove 30 minutes to Corning to visit the Corning Museum of Glass. We got there relatively early, not only does it help with avoiding the crowds and makes finding a spot for the truck easier, but it allows more room in the afternoon for a good nap! I’ll start off by saying that Sam and I didn’t have high expectations for this outing as glass is a bits of an ‘artsy’ thing and that definitely is something more up the girls alley. I will say, however, that it turned out to be more interesting then I expected, most of it anyway.

The first part of the museum was a new building, architecturally it was very minimalistic, leaving all the focus on the art inside it. We enjoyed looking at the huge range of glass art samples. Some of the items looked pretty normal, but then when you know that it’s made out of glass it totally changes the appreciation for what was done. I don’t typically dwell on the motivation and meaning behind art pieces but I found one piece very interesting.

DSCF3498This piece was made up of numerous layers of glass with the whole piece being perhaps 10 inches deep. Each layer was a different color, a different shape, and fit in a different part of the overall composition. I think I liked it simply because of how it represented each of us. We are all made up of different parts, different layers, and that collection makes up the whole package much as the glass layers here come together in the end to form a whole. That’s about as deep as I’ll get there, again, I’m not the type of person that walks around at an art gallery and stares at the same painting for 30 minutes as I am drawn into the motivation and feeling of the artist, this one for some reason got my attention.

I have to say that Corning has done a really good job with the museum. Given what could be a relatively limited focus of ‘glass’ they make the experience go well beyond just admiring the craftiness of some artist that work with the material. The museum offers a number of demonstrative exhibits, most of which we took part in. These exhibits cover everything from the actually blowing and forming of glass forms, to how different types of glass are constructed to resist breakage (along with lots of glass breaking demonstrations), to fiber optics, and how artisans use torches to create some glass based art. It was these kinds of exhibits that really drew you in and provided for a much better experience then you would have had by just walking around and looking at glass samples (though they have plenty of that too).

There was an entire section on glass creations throughout history, this section, despite Wendy and my interest in history was a bit underwhelming. Sure, you can see glass items created during the Roman Empire and many other time periods, but it just seemed like it went on forever (I’m pretty sure it did). After walking through about half of that section we moved on to another glass blowing exhibit. 🙂

The only section that rivaled the sized of the historic exhibit was the gift shop, seriously, it was HUGE. I guess they had to sell off all those creations they made during the glass blowing exhibits somehow.

In the end the visit was well worth it, even despite some boredom in the historical section, and is definitely worth the stop if your in the area, even if your only looking to appreciate the incredible architecture of the lobby and art exhibit section.

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