A museum shows its favorites folder
May 3, 2011 9:14 AM   Subscribe

The Corning Museum of Glass (previously), not to be confused with the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington (previously), has named 60 favorites of their own collection and campus. The choices range from ancient, like the glass "portrait" of the Egyptian pharaoh Amenhotep II, to the scientific, like the initial 200-inch disk intended for the Hale telescope at the Mt. Palomar observatory, to modern sculpture, like Family Matter by Jill Reynolds.

Notably, in 1972, the museum was flooded by the nearby Chemung River as a result of Hurricane Agnes. It re-opened just a month later.

Personally, I'm surprised they left out the trick drinking glasses, one of my all-time favorites there. (I've visited the museum countless times over the years, having grown up in the town. My senior prom was even held there.)
posted by knile (17 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
We happened to be driving past on a cross-country trip a couple years ago so my son and I stopped there. We only had a couple hours and could definitely have spent all day. We basically sprinted through the art section, which was amazing, watched a glass blowing demonstration and then sped-strolled through the rest (like the walk-inside "graph" of oven temperatures vs glass opacity and the safety glass explosion demo). Pretty neat place.
posted by DU at 9:18 AM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ok, this is cool. Thanks!
posted by strixus at 9:25 AM on May 3, 2011

Great post.

The Corning museum is a treasure, and it has shown it can bounce back from adversity.
posted by kinnakeet at 9:40 AM on May 3, 2011

That was almost as bad as the time when the Stanley Hammer Museum and Soprano Conservatory opened up next door.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:47 AM on May 3, 2011

If you can't get enough of single-substance museums in upstate New York, this site from Syracuse University on the history of plastic is also good.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 9:48 AM on May 3, 2011

If you want to know more about the Palomar Telescope, The Perfect Machine by Ronald Florence is quite good. It covers the making of the disk in quite a lot of detail include more information on the small scale experiments which included stacking many custard cups upside down and pouring molten glass on top. This was supposed to be a simple way to make a lightweight structure. Unfortunately, all the bubbles of air trapped in between the cups rose to the top of the molten glass ruining the whole thing.

Also, in the book they mention that each of the hexagonal holes in the back of the mirror has a mechanism that pushes on the back of the glass to compensate for the force of gravity. I'd love to see a picture of one of these mechanism if anybodies Google-Fu is better than mine.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 9:52 AM on May 3, 2011

Mod note: Comment removed. If you want to reference something two pages long from another site, please just link it and maybe quote a short relevant bit. Big copy paste jobs are not so great.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:53 AM on May 3, 2011

Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse NY is another great upstate museum - this one houses a vast collection of ceramic art.
posted by newdaddy at 10:32 AM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

No. No. Anything but Dale Chihuly.
posted by Faze at 11:23 AM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

The CMOG is a total *GEM* of a museum. Bonus points for being exactly the right size museum (for me!), with lots of interactive exhibits mixed in with the rare glass art and artifacts PLUS demonstrations of glass blowing from master glassblowers. I grew up visiting there many many times and only later appreciated how remarkable it was to have a truly world class museum in this upstate locale. If you ever find yourself driving through upstate NY anywhere near Corning, it is well worth a stop. The town of Corning is quite cute with a lovely main street with some interesting restaurants. Great post!
posted by bluesky43 at 12:25 PM on May 3, 2011

We went to the CMOG a bunch of times when I was a kid growing up in Ithaca -- it really is an amazing place, and fueled a casual but lifelong interest in glassmaking.
posted by bettafish at 1:14 PM on May 3, 2011

I also spent part of my formative years in Corning (Painted Post, actually.) I recall going to that museum a lot, although I don't recall any of the specific exhibits.

The town of Corning is small, but the main street downtown is pretty neat. During the winter they had a celebration called "Sparkle Christmas", which was an outdoor fair at night. I remember walking through falling snow with so many lights and people. Vendors selling funnel cake, cocoa and waffle fries. One year, the Vitrix glass studio allowed children to blow their own glass Christmas ornaments. To this day I still have a Christmas ornament with air I breathed when I was only six years old inside it.

It still remains my favorite upstate small town.
posted by chemoboy at 2:00 PM on May 3, 2011

The Corning Museum of Glass is a national treasure, and probably the best single-topic museum I've ever been to. Even if you have zero interest in that topic going in, it won't be that way going out. Well worth a visit, well worth the drive through the country.

Aniello's pizzeria on the main strip is also highly recommended.
posted by Capt. Renault at 2:39 PM on May 3, 2011

This is neat! I really want to see that pharaoh's glass portrait. The commercials never appealed to me, but this post has convinced me to check it out.
posted by santaslittlehelper at 7:33 PM on May 3, 2011

(SELF-LINK AHEAD) this was my favorite and I didn't see it in their list, a lacy glass globe. I love the CMOG and wish I lived closer to it.
posted by girlhacker at 8:16 PM on May 3, 2011

posted by Ahab at 10:45 PM on May 3, 2011

There are a couple of companies operating in the world today that I have a nearly unexplainable, unwarranted, and completely uninhibited love for. Corning is one of them. They're like the 3M of glass.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:29 AM on May 4, 2011

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