Did you know that the world’s top glass museum is just a four-hour drive from Toronto? At the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York, visitors can explore 35 centuries of glass art and technology.
This major not-for-profit museum was founded in 1951 by Corning Glass Works (now Corning Incorporated) on the company’s 100th anniversary. Why the connection of glass with the town of Corning? In 1868, the Brooklyn Flint Glass Company moved to Corning and changed its name. The Chemung River and three railroads made it easy to ship raw materials in and finished product out. By 1905, the quiet farming community had become the ‘Crystal City’ with 2,500 glassblowers, cutters and etchers employed at Corning Glass Works and other local factories.
In the museum galleries, the history of glass covers 35 centuries, from Roman and Islamic Glass to Venetian, European and American glass. A special section is devoted to glass produced in Corning itself. Highlights of the museum’s collection include gorgeous stained glass windows by Louis Comfort Tiffany and luxurious Art Deco hood ornaments by Rene Lalique.
In the contemporary gallery, today’s glass artists are doing amazing things this luminous, fragile yet strong material.
The town of Corning and the Corning Museum of Glass are a perfect weekend getaway from Toronto. Visitors to the museum can learn about glass technology in the Innovation Center, watch live glassblowing demonstrations or sign up to make their own glass souvenir. The museum’s huge International GlassMarket is a shopper’s paradise, offering seasonal displays, holiday gift ideas and a dazzling selection of glass Christmas ornaments. A $64 million, 100,000-square-foot museum expansion designed by New York architect Thomas Phifer is scheduled to open in spring 2015. The Corning glass museum is open every day of the year and admission is free for kids and teens.
The town of Corning is located in the Finger Lakes region of New York state. Dine and shop in Corning’s historic Gaffer District, visit nearby wineries, hike spectacular Watkins Gorge or follow the Tiffany & Treasures Trail.
Corning, New York, is 360 kilometres (224 miles) from Toronto.