After multiple visits to the Corning Museum of Glass, I have to say that this is one of the most extraordinary museums in New York! Scratch that. The Corning Museum of Glass is one of the best museums in the world! And this is coming from someone who is not a typical museum-goer. While I will visit museums from time to time on my travels and have found some that I love, a standard museum visit for me is one to two hours max. But with the Corning Museum of Glass, that is not the case.
On my first visit to Corning, I spent four hours exploring the Corning Museum of Glass. This visit left me awestruck and gave me a newfound appreciation for glass. When I had the opportunity to revisit the museum recently, I was so excited to have a chance to visit again. This time, I spent over six hours at the Corning Museum of Glass, having to drag myself away to make the drive back to Buffalo.
The Corning Museum of Glass had me so engrossed because it is not a typical museum. The exhibits tell a captivating story, and there are interactive and entertaining experiences to have. You truly get the whole scope of how glass is made, from getting to watch a glass blowing demonstration, trying your hand at the Make Your Own Glass experience o and learning about the history and science of glass.
Should you Visit the Corning Museum of Glass?
If you’re trying to decide if visiting the Corning Museum of Glass is for you, the answer is yes! As I’ve covered, this is not your typical museum, and there is truly something for everyone to experience. There’s something for art, history, and design lovers to enjoy. But it’s also enjoyable if you love some quality entertainment and can appreciate the beauty of colorful glass (who can’t?)
Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes are a destination on their own, so you can easily plan an entire trip around visiting the Corning Museum of Glass. But a stop at the Corning Museum of Glass also makes a great addition to a New York road trip. Corning is a great spot to stop between NYC and Niagara Falls. Visiting this museum would be a great way to break up your drive and allow you to experience something exceptional.
How Much Time do you Need at the Corning Museum of Glass?
To get the whole experience of The Corning Museum of Glass, I would plan on spending four hours at the museum. This timeframe will allow you to check out the exhibits, watch a glass blowing demonstration, do the Make Your Own Glass experience, grab lunch, and browse the shops.
If you’re planning on spending a lot of time viewing the exhibits, you could spend quite frankly spend the entire day at the museum if you have the time. There is a great cafe and outdoor areas to break up your day.
However, if you are on a time crunch, the minimum amount of time I would suggest visiting is within a three-hour timeframe. Make sure to check out the blowing demonstration and stroll through the exhibits. However, you most likely won’t have time to Make Your Own Glass in this amount of time.
Things to do at the Corning Museum of Glass
Stroll through the Exhibits
Stroll through the contemporary exhibits, where the artistry of glass is being reimagined. And take your time to appreciate the history of glassmaking in the glass collection galleries. Here you can see the history of glass, dating back 3,500 years. There is so much glass art to see, including a Chihuly piece in the museum’s lobby.
No matter how many times you visit the Corning Museum of Glass, there is always something new to see. The pieces in the galleries are constantly rotating, and temporary exhibits offer a completely new experience.
Here is a small taste of the exhibits at the Corning Museum of Glass:
Contemporary Glass Galleries
The Contemporary Glass Galleries hold over 70 pieces from the museum’s permanent collections, showcasing glass art from the past 25 years. Contemporary art is one of my favorite parts of the museum. The space is bright and airy, flooded with natural light. The stunning natural light makes you feel like you are far removed from an art gallery. While most museums tend to be darker to protect the pieces from light damage, the natural lighting illuminates the glass, further beautifying these pieces.
And the pieces on display in the Contemporary Glass Galleries are primarily large-scale pieces that are indeed works of art. I was amazed to see how these artists reimagined glass and created stunning contemporary works of art.
35 Centuries of Glass
The history nerd in me loved the 35 Centuries of Glass collection. This collection showcases pieces from Asia, Europe, and the Americas. It was interesting to learn about the history of glass and how it was processed throughout the years.
What is interesting is seeing the glass pieces used hundreds of years ago and getting a sense of how they were used in everyday life. This helps to understand how glass is developed and gives you a better understanding of the society that used it.
Blown Away is a Netflix series about glass blowing, and the Corning Museum of Glass has a connection to the show! The winner of the show gets an art residency at the Corning Museum of Glass. It’s a great tie-in! I highly recommend watching the show before you visit the Corning Museum to appreciate glass blowing better. Currently, there is a showcase displaying pieces from the season 2 contestants.
Fire and Vine
Fire and Vine is a temporary exhibit at the Corning Museum of Glass that is a must-see! This exhibit tells the story of glass and winemaking and the connection between the two. This exhibit greatly ties into the region, as the Finger Lakes is well known for its wine region. I loved seeing how glass has shaped the wine industry, from bottling wine to the glasses it’s served in.
In Sparkling Company
The dazzling display of the exhibit In Sparkling Company drew me in. While the pieces in this temporary exhibit are stunning, the exhibit digs deeper to unearth the costs of this opulent glass production. In Sparkling Company allows you to get a unique perspective of high society in Britain in the 1700s.
Watch a Glass Blowing Demonstration
After checking out the museum, head to a live glass blowing demonstration. The glass blowing demonstration allows you to watch as one of the glassblowers or gaffers creates a piece. Watching the live glass blowing demonstration was terrific! The demonstration made me appreciate glass blowing even more and showed what glassmakers do in the glass studio.
Demonstrations occur throughout the day, so make sure to check the times once you arrive at the Corning Museum of Glass. The area to watch the demonstrations is quite large, so make sure to snag a seat front and center to get a good view. I arrived approximately 10 minutes before the demonstration started to get my seat.
Make Your Own Glass
For a unique perspective of glass blowing, you can even Make Your Own Glass in the studio. You get to choose your project and assist in the creation of it. Making your own glass is such a fun and interactive way to experience the Corning Museum of Glass. The Make Your Own Glass experience was one of my favorite things to do in Corning.
In the previous year, you could physically blow the glass, just as the glassblowers do in the studios. However, with current restrictions, the Make Your Own Glass experience has been slightly altered so that you are not blowing with your mouth. Instead, you are pushing a pedal that releases air into your glass creation. The pedal allows you to have an interactive experience and get up close to the incredibly hot ovens, and have a part in making a piece of glass that you get to bring home.
The Make Your Own Glass experience not only allows you to have a lasting memory, but you get to bring home your creation and a physical representation of that time you made glass! The Corning Museum of Glass will even send your glass creation to you, so you don’t have to worry about packing it in your luggage.
Doing the make-your-own glass experience is an additional charge, yet it is worth it!
Shop in the Gift Shop
Other museum gift shops pale in comparison to the gift shop at the Corning Museum of Glass. The gift shop is enormous and sells everything from books about glass making, glass ornaments, decor, and so much more. One of my favorite things for sale was the glass flowers, sold from the back of a pickup truck.
Grab a Bite to Eat at the Cafe
The Corning Museum of Glass has a fantastic cafe offering a wide variety of food. The food options are especially great given how large the museum is and the extent of time you will spend here. It was great to break up my visit to the Corning Museum of Glass with a bit to eat for lunch.
There is both indoor and outdoor seating available. Given that I visited in the summer, I choose to eat outside to get some fresh air.
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Come Join My Journey was hosted by The Corning Museum of Glass, however, my opinions are as always my own.