A visitor marvels at the distorted view through a glass globe

Preserving 3,500 years of sand, ash, lime and fire.  Continued from Pg. 1..

To begin with, the Museum will open SummerStage, an outdoor stage where visitors can watch live glassmaking demonstrations. SummerStage will also act as a mobile ambassador for the Museum, as it has the capacity to bring glassmaking demonstrations on the road.

The Museum has also doubled the space in its interactive glass studio. For the past five years this studio has been the residence of numerous top glass artists. Countless students have learned the art of glasswork here in this wonderful facility. Now the experience will be even richer since the Museum has greatly increased the size of the working and classroom spaces and added a wax room and an engraving room. Also new to the plans is a special drop-in studio where Museum visitors will be able to try various areas of glassworking.

The Frederick Carder Gallery, which opened in May to much applause, will honor design giant Frederick Carder (1863-1963). Comprising more than 2,000 pieces, the gallery showcases the world’s most comprehensive collection of Carder glass. These works of glass cover the seven decades of Carders contributions.

Another new permanent installment is a fiber optic exhibit entitled "Glass at the Speed of Light." The exhibit will demonstrate how much information a single optical fiber can carry. A single optical fiber will run the length of the exhibit, encased in a transparent handrail. This fiber will transmit a signal originating form a camera pointing at visitors. This same fiber will occupy different parts of the exhibit – in one section winding around a spool for nearly 100 miles before having its signal amplified and refreshed. The slender fiber also snakes its way through the amount of copper wire needed to carry the same information – hundreds of cables, weighing thousands of pounds. Housed in the Glass Innovation Center, "Glass at the Speed of Light" adds the latest fiber technology to the Museum’s exhibits, allowing the center to represent the past, present and future of glass innovation.

In addition to these changes, two exciting exhibitions mark The Corning Museum’s anniversary celebration. "Objects of Fantasy" will reveal an elaborate display of antique paperweight-related glass. According to Dena K. Tarshis, who organized the show, "The arrangement of the extraordinary pieces of glass in this exhibition, by the predominant technique employed, has a two-fold purpose: Not only to highlight some of the finest examples of 19th century glass inclusions, but also to trace the evolution of each technique from its origin, usually in ancient times, to its modern expression. The collection, which includes highlights such as 19th century French Jokelson Vases and elaborate bottles and stoppers, is bound to capture the imagination of visitors.

The centerpiece of the Museum this summer is the "Glass of the Sultans" exhibit. It is being presented jointly with the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The beauty and mystery of the Islamic world will be uncovered in this landmark exhibit. The stunning collection of more than 150 outstanding objects, spanning the ages from the seventh to nineteenth centuries, is, amazingly, the first Islamic glass exhibit.

Islamic glassmakers have always been on the forefront of the craft. They are the inventors of glass staining and key developers of relief cutting and enameling. The artistry is unparalleled and the variety of the collection is awe-inspiring.

"There are two reasons why people should come," says Director David Whitehouse. "The glass is absolutely spectacular, and this is the first show of its kind." Through September 3 visitors can experience these treasures as The Corning Museum makes history yet again.

Taken as a whole, The Corning Museum of Glass, through strong and consistent vision, offers the best glass experience in the world. Always true to its mission, the Museum educates and captivates like no other. In fact, word "museum" seems to fall short when describing The Corning Museum of Glass. What is this place? It is a school, a laboratory, a receptacle of knowledge and art, a protector of history, an inspiration. Much like the great library of Alexandria preserved the thought and literature of the western world, The Corning Museum preserves an ongoing dialogue in glass. For fifty years now it has connected the mind, hands, and work of 3,500 years of artists, craftsmen and innovators, recognizing that the history of glass is, truly, our own history.

The Corning Museum of Glass is located at One Museum Way in Corning, New York. The Museum is open 9-5 daily. For further information please call 1-800-732-6845 or visit them on the web at www.cmog.org.

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Look for part II of this article in out September issue when we take a closer look at the amazing new studio and delve more deeply into The Corning Museum’s collections.

 

Pair of lamps, blown, cased, and cut. New England Glass Company, East Cambridge, MA, 1855-1870.

8 ¼" enameled spirit flask, Bohemian, 1720-1730

The Corning Museum of Glass offers many beautifully curated exhibit spaces.