Corning Museum of Glass
The state-of-the-art Glass Museum (1 Museum Way, Exit 46 off I-86, 607/937-5371 or 800/732-6845, www.cmog.org, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily, with extended hours to 8 p.m. in summer, adults $14, seniors $11.90, students $12.60, children under 20 free, discounted combo tickets with the Rockwell Museum of Western Art) sits surrounded by sleek corporate buildings on the north side of town. Its undulating walls are made of a blue-gray glass, while its modern entrance is built of four giant panes of glass.
The museum is divided into several sections, including the hands on Glass Innovation Center, which tells of scientific advances in glassmaking and allows guests to try their hand at exhibits showing different elements of the process, and the Glass Sculpture Gallery, the largest of its kind in the world.
The heart of the institution, however, remains its main museum building, which showcases more than 10,000 glass objects at a time, many dramatically displayed in darkened rooms with spotlights. The oldest objects date back to 1400 B.C., the newest seen in famous designers’ contributions to constantly changing installations.
Among the many highlights are an iridescent vase from 10th-century Iran, an 11-foot-high Tiffany window, and a table-long glass boat cut by Baccarat in 1900.
With over forty daily shows (included in admission), such as the Hot Glass Show, Flameworking Demos, and a demonstration where visitors can whip up a drawing and see it created out of glass in front of their eyes by a master crafter, visitors can observe the art of glass up close.
This is a far sight more fascinating than your typical ‘historic glass blowing station’ at a pioneer village setup. At the Steuben Factory, skilled craftspeople are at work. This is the only place in the world where Steuben glass is made.
As a non-profit, the massive gift shop is populated by the works of individual outside artisans, rather than any products made on site at the museum. Another option for a truly memorable souvenir would be to hit The Studio. Glassmaking classes for every age range from $10–25 and include an impressively sturdy and beautiful object to bring home (gorgeous ornaments created through glassblowing, colorful blooms on deceptively looking delicate twisted stems achieved through pulling the molten glass into flower petals in glassforming), each tailored to visitor’s style and colors. This is a rewarding and unique artistic experience and very popular, so purchase tickets for designated time slots on entry to the museum.
© Avalon Travel and Sascha Zuger from Moon New York State, 5th Edition