A microcosm of everything beautiful ever made in the world: Corning, NY’s Corning Museum of Glass

Whether your personal interests tend to art, crafts, history, science or industry, you’ll find the Corning Museum of Glass a kaleidoscope of amazing. I was happy to be hosted to experience it!

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Like other museums in New York’s Finger Lakes region, there are hands-on, immersive activities. There’s a large, popular area where you can create your own glass art! The cost varies according to the complexity of the project you choose. They suit you up in layers of fire retardant protective clothing and goggles. Then, you pick out colors for your art. I was surprised to see only certain colors and not others that I like, such as pink. Well, glass is colored by metal melted into it and pink is actually created from gold! Well, I always knew I have expensive taste . . . that’s not exactly a Muppet News Flash. They teach you how to work the metal prods to shape the molten glass, before cooling it for an extended period of time. I didn’t realize that some glass takes weeks to cool! Finally, they mail your project to your home.

You’ll find galleries of massive, modern sculptures — and remember, they’re made out of delicate glass — lit to see their intense coloring. It took me a second to realize that one sculpture was meant to look broken and Gothic. Before I realized, I had a pang of deep pain for the lost beauty!

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I could probably spend months in the gallery of 35 centuries of glass. They have glass from the area and era of the Bible! The Bible! I think you’d be surprised at the intricate glass designed by the earliest peoples around the world. I made my brain burr, working out how prehistoric people discovered how to make glass. People were constructing kilns very, very early. But how did they know how to use sand and heat it for glass? I figured, there had to have been a natural, prolonged source of fire at a beach, such as with lightening or with a volcano. I looked around the museum and found the answer: I was 100% right! Early beach glass was something other than just smoothed over, broken Coke bottles.

The early 19th and 20th century glass includes breathtaking stained glass created by Tiffany for churches. Also, there are displays of exquisite crystal drinkware: one giant, locally made punchbowl and matching glasses made me stand frozen, like a little kid. Also, like a little kid, I had this wave of “I want it, I want it, I want it so much.” I want the lifestyle that goes with it, too!

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Their gigantic gift shop has so many things, including Christmas ornaments and dining sets, but not a replica of the giant punchbowl that I want, I want, I want. They do have the famous Pyrex — one of Corning’s subdivisions — and I realized that I use a Pyrex milk glass mixing bowl nearly every day. It has a little chip, but I’m keeping it! However, once again, it is not the giant punchbowl that I want, I want, I want.

 

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