Because I spent my career in museums, sometimes I can be blasé about them. Visiting one can feel like work as I look to see how exhibits were designed, artifacts displayed, and lighting installed. I am notorious for critiquing labels. I note the cleanliness of restrooms and friendliness of volunteers and staff and the prices and quality of items in the gift shop. I evaluate their educational programs. So, when a museum is so well done and fascinating that I can look beyond all of that I could stay all day and even into a second one. And unfortunately, I often underestimate the time needed to see such a museum.
I should have known the Corning Museum of Glass would be such a place. After all, I used to fuse glass and have a whole workshop including a kiln and supplies set up ready to use. My travelling companion, Julie, does as well.
But because we stopped at Watkins Glen State Park in the morning and did not arrive at the museum until 1:30 with an appointment to make a blown glass Christmas ornament at 2, we got a late start and didn’t have nearly enough time to see all the museum offered.
Their hands on experiences were wonderful. Not only did we “blow” glass (because of Covid, air is pumped through a compressor, and we controlled the foot pedal to turn it off and on), but when we were finished, we signed up for a lamp work class to make a pendant with a blow torch.
By the time we were done in the studio (along with a sneak peek at the fused glass studio to see their kilns), it was 3:30 and our dogs had been in the trailer since 10:00. We perused the exhibit on the science of glassmaking learning how glassblowing was modernized in factories and how the glass for windshields and telescopes is made, and watched two glass making demonstrations, all with the knowledge that we needed to go because they needed to GO. I made a quick run through the art gallery, being inspired by so much of what I saw, then, we dashed through the gift shop where I bought some gifts and got more ideas.
In addition to the things, I listed above, the sign of a good museum is one that leaves you thinking and wanting to know more. I hope to visit the Corning Museum of Glass again, because I have lots more to see!