Corning Museum of Glass Expands with Contemporary Art + Design Wing

One of our favorite museums in the Finger Lakes area is the Corning Museum of Glass.  The combination of sparkly, colorful, artistic displays paired with hands-on glass making demonstrations and workshops always captivate our family.  Since our last visit where we created and explored glass beads, the Corning Museum of Glass built and opened an entirely new wing.  The expansion includes the Contemporary Art + Design space plus a redesigned 500-seat Amphitheater Hot Shop dedicated to live glassblowing demonstrations.  We just had to check out the new exhibit, and of course you just can’t visit the Corning Museum of Glass without creating your own piece of art.  Continue reading to see what glass project sits on our shelves now.

Corning Museum of Glass

Contemporary Art + Design Galleries

It’s impossible to miss the Corning Museum of Glass’ new Contemporary Art + Design Galleries sitting off the main lobby entrance.  The gallery’s simple, white interior and curved walls accentuate the glass sculptures contained within – designed by well-known glass makers such as Dale Chihuly.

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My favorite piece was one that resembled a glass “heart” with a beaded circulatory system filled with both oxygen-rich and deoxygenated blood.  After browsing the modern exhibit, it was time to head out back to the studio to create our own works of art.

Make Your Own Glass Workshop

Corning Museum of Glass

Our daughters were signed for the glass flower workshop.  The interactive process was led by an experienced staff member to safely guide you through the procedure.  Because of the hands-on nature of working with hot glass, this workshop was recommended for ages 14 and up.  Upon entering the studio, the girls each selected the colors and patterns for their glass flowers.

Corning Museum of Glass

Appropriate safety gear was distributed, and they took their place on the glassblower’s bench for some basic instructions.

Corning Museum of Glass

A glob of hot, molten glass was brought over to the bench and the instructor guided the molding into a flower.

Corning Museum of Glass

Tugging at the ends of the glass with long tweezers created pedals for the flower.

Corning Museum of Glass

The finished product was placed into a cooling oven to slowly bring the piece to room temperature.

Corning Museum of Glass

Our second daughter repeated the process to make her own flower.

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Due to the nature of the hot glass, you need to work quickly before it cools.  Therefore the workshops go fast and do not take up a large portion of your museum visit.

Corning Museum of Glass

After the 24 hour cooling process, the Corning Museum of Glass ships the final pieces directly to your home.

Corning Museum of Glass

Hot Glass Show

Finally, we never visit the Corning Museum of Glass without taking in a “Hot Glass Show.”  A new amphitheater Hot Shop was added as part of the Contemporary Art + Design Wing, and the space makes watching the popular show that much better.  The seats are more comfortable, there’s a second floor balcony around the perimeter of the studios, offering visitors a 360-degree view of the glassmaking demonstrations, and more air conditioning.

Corning Museum of Glass

The Hot Glass Demo is a mesmerizing live, narrated glassblowing demonstration, offered all day, every day, and included in the cost of admission.  During the 20-40 minute show a master glassmaker shapes red hot molten glass into vases, bowls, or sculptures while a narrator walks you through the process.

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Fall is a perfect time of year to visit the Corning Museum of Glass.  The hillsides of the Finger Lakes region are ablaze with color, and the Corning Museum of Glass shops are perfect places to find gifts for the upcoming holidays.  No matter how many times we visit the Corning Museum of Glass, there’s always new art, workshops, and shows to keep us entertained.

DISCLOSURE: Our family was hosted by the Corning Museum of Glass and received complimentary admission and registration for the glass flower making workshop.  However, all opinions expressed are those of the author.  For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on twitter and “like” our facebook page too.

About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.