Looking for things to do in the Finger Lakes region? The #1 attraction in the Finger Lakes region of New York state is the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, NY. “Glass is different things to different people. At the Corning Museum of Glass, you will discover the many things that glass can be.” And it will blow your mind!
The Corning Museum of Glass (CMoG) is dedicated to educating the world about a single material: glass. With a collection that spans 35 centuries, CMoG offers the most comprehensive collection of glass art in the world. From the cups we drink from, to the screens of smartphones, and even the fiber optic technology that enables it all, glass is the transparent material that connects our lives.
Exhibitions at The Corning Museum of Glass
New Glass Now Exhibit
During your visit to The Corning Museum of Glass, you will see stunning and unexpected pieces of glasswork. The New Glass Now exhibit is the third in a series dating back to 1959, and, just as in 1959, the show was curated from an open call for submissions by an international panel. The panel received 4,000 submissions from more than 1,400 artists and designers from 52 countries.
It’s no wonder that visitors spend an average of 5 hours at The Corning Museum of Glass. New Glass Now is a thought-provoking, jaw-dropping exhibition that one could easily spend two hours exploring. The selected artworks represent nearly every glassworking technique while demonstrating the diversity of their makers and including artists at every point in their career, from recent graduates to established artists ranging in age from 23 to 84 years.
Journey to the Moon: How Glass Got Us There
In July, our nation celebrated the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing, which makes Journey to the Moon: How Glass Got Us There particularly compelling. Glass is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Apollo 11’s moon landing, but the humble material of glass played an integral role in making the epic journey to the moon possible.
Visitors can touch a lunar meteorite containing glassy components and examine key objects and artifacts which made the mission possible, including fiberglass—used in the protective outer layer of spacesuits worn by astronauts, and as insulation for the spacecraft, as well as a Gemini window, designed by Corning, Inc. for the space shuttle windshield.
Make Your Own Glass
Making your own glass piece is a highlight at The Corning Museum of Glass, and you will have a handmade, one-of-a-kind souvenir of your visit shipped to your home once the piece has cooled overnight. With the help of experienced glassworkers, you and your family have the opportunity to experience everything from hot glassworking to flameworking, fusing to sandblasting. These short experiences take 20 – 40 minutes, depending on the Make Your Own Glass project. Open to all ages. No experience is necessary.
We were excited that crafting a glass flower was the Make Your Own Glass experience on the day of our visit. First, we selected the colors we wanted for our flowers – I went with vibrant red and yellow – we donned safety gear and glasses and, aided by experienced glassworkers, pulled and twisted the molten glass to form the petals and stem of our flowers. I was thrilled when my package arrived and absolutely love the gorgeous glass souvenir of my trip to the Finger Lakes. For more information and be sure to register online as spaces fill up quickly.
Watch a Hot Glass Demonstration
In a state-of-the-art theater, visitors can watch as a master glassmaker takes a glowing gob of molten glass, heated to 2100°F, and skillfully shapes it into a vase, bowl, or sculpture. The demonstrations are narrated, often with a translator for groups of non-English speakers, and allow you to learn more about the techniques used to make the objects in the galleries. Other demonstrations include the Flameworking Demo and the Optical Fiber and Glass Breaking Demos.
Fun Facts About The Corning Museum of Glass
These fun facts might help you see glass in a new light:
Glass can stretch thinner than a human hair! Optical fiber was invented here in Corning, NY. Learn more about this technology at the Optical Fiber Demonstration.
Glass is its own state of matter! It possesses the atomic structure of liquid and the physical properties of a solid. What the?!
Molten glass is about 2,100°F – the same temperature as lava!
It only takes a small breath of air – about the same amount as blowing out a birthday candle or blowing up a balloon – to inflate glass.
The first glass encasement for Thomas Edison’s light bulb was made in Corning! In 1879, by the Museum’s primary benefactor, Corning Glass Works (now Corning Incorporated) manufactured this product.
Have you ever cooked using Pyrex? The science behind one of America’s favorite dishes was discovered here in Corning by a Corning Glass Works physicist in 1915.
Source: Corning Museum of Glass
More Things To Do In The Finger Lakes
The Corning Museum of Glass is just one of many activities to enjoy in the Finger Lakes region. Known as an outdoor lover’s paradise and combined with exceptional craft breweries, spirits, and a premier wine destination, the Finger Lakes region is a win-win for all!
Finger Lakes Wine Country is home to more than 100 wineries, breweries, and distilleries centered around Keuka, Seneca, and Cayuga Lakes. For a list of wineries and more information on the wine trail, and wine and food weekend events, visit Finger Lakes Wine Country’s website.
Adventure Pairings: Finger Lakes Beer Country has developed a Craft Your Adventure self-guided beverage trail which celebrates the exceptional craftsmanship found in each glass and growler paired with an amazing outdoor recreational activity in the scenic Southern Finger Lakes. Visit Finger Lakes Beer Country and unlock your adventure.
Get Lost in the Finger Lakes: get off the interstate and explore the country roads that connect the quaint, small towns of the Finger Lakes and immerse yourself in the stunning landscape of deep gorges and breathtaking waterfalls. Two parks you don’t want to miss: Watkins Glen State Park and Letchworth, New York’s #1 state park.
And much more: arts & culture, history, the Tiffany & Treasures Trail, fishing, farm and agritourism in the Finger Lakes region, visit Corning Finger Lakes website.
The Corning Museum of Glass is a must-see and a sojourn to the Finger Lakes region of New York needs to be on your bucket list! Pin the image below and feed your wanderlust.