Corning Museum of Glass: A Glass Lover's Paradise!

4.29.2022 1 Museum Way, Corning, NY 14830, USA

From Roman Glass to Murano Glass, Micromosaic Paintings to Optical Fibres, the Corning Museum of Glass exhibits, demonstrations and the in-house docent's tours are treasures to look around. Established in 1951 by Corning Glass Works(now Corning Incorporated) it is a must-do on a road trip from New YorkI have been there twice and have never gotten bored. I even got a chance to try my hand at Glass making at their studios.

Did you know? During the 1900s, newspapers referred to it as Crystal City because it sold many glass and glass products worldwide.

Where is the Corning Museum of Glass? 

How to reach Corning:

It is conveniently located around 3 hours from New York and is easy to reach by road. If you do not have a car to drive, as we did not, plenty of buses go to Corning, some with one stop at Binghamton, NY. The nearest airport is Elmira(22 min) if one does not want to go via road. 

 Travel within Corning:

Within Corning, one can easily take cheap and reliable taxis.   

There is plenty to do in the area. A free shuttle bus runs continuously from the Welcome Center of the Museum and to the Rockwell Museum and downtown Corning, where you'll find Historic Market Street shops and restaurants.

It is best to combine it with a visit to Watkins Glen State Park, the Finger Lakes, and Ithaca. It also makes for an excellent place to stop for a few days before continuing north to Niagara. Letchworth State Park, located between Corning and Niagara Falls, is worth visiting.

What to expect?

Parking: We've never had a problem finding a parking spot here. On-site primary parking is available. It's just off I-86 at Exit 46. Keep an eye out for CMoG banners and a Welcome Center.

Entry Ticket: The CMOG (Corning Museum of Glass) admission fee is $10 for residents and $20 for general admission. Kids 17 and under can come free.

Top things to look inside

How many days should you plan to spend here? It is possible to complete it in a single day, but it may be stressful. I recommend visiting the galleries for at least two days, watching the demonstrations, and participating in glass-making workshops. 

Wandering inside such a big museum can be overwhelming. So here's a rundown of my favorites:

1. 35 Centuries of Glass Gallery: This is the most rewarding gallery to visit, whether with a docent or on your own. This gallery will take you through the various stages of glass evolution:

a) Roman Empire: 

The Romans invited two things that we still use today: Glass and furnaces. The journey began around 20-30 AD when Caseous Agassi was dictator, and things started to happen in the Roman Empire, where finances improved, and people became more organized and creative. The Roman Empire spanned the entire Mediterranean.

We had glassmakers who would break the Glass, which was then given to glassworkers who would melt the Glass to create the body, then sold to glass marketers at the marketplace.

That was when they hadn't figured out how to clean the Glass. The Glass would have a lot of brown and green undertones here. 

b) From Mediterranian to the Middle East to France: 

When people moved by air to the Middle East, the North, and further into France, they adapted their methods and experimentation based on religion, location, and design. During that time, they did a lot of experimentation with enamel. They also experimented with stains such as Silver Oxide and Copper Oxide.

Our docent directed us to the mask lamp and explained that if we mixed colors into Gum Arabic and painted it out before refiring the Glass, it bonds and becomes one piece, but if we take our hands and go over it, we can still feel it.

c) The Venetian Glass / The Bubbled Glass of Murano:

We talked about the 1400s AD when Venetians were experimenters who kept everything in the family. All of the Glass recipes they created were only shared within their family in Italy.

There were so many hash crops in the area that they soon started tearing down houses to make way for the development of Glass in the area. The government then decided to relocate them to the Italian island of Murano. That is why Murano has become the world's glass capital.

The Venetians had sworn that they would never reveal their recipes, even if it meant death. These families shared information and worked together to create clear Glass.

Murano Glass is hand-blown, so bubbles and asymmetry are to be expected. So there were bubbles inside these glasses, and they got there eventually, but it took a lot of trial and error, fine-tuning, and fining.

To get the bubbles out of the Glass, one must control the temperature because the bubbles come from the bottom of the Glass, rise to the top, grow larger, and explode at the top, releasing the gas. As the docent pointed out in the images above, these bubbles are geometrically placed in the Glass on purpose in some exhibits. 

We can do that here in Corning, he says. Venetians used enamels to enhance worldly outwork. They also began combining various pieces of Glass to create multiple types of sculptures. 

d) 1600- 1700 AD: During the 1600s, people experimented with clear Glass and spectacles. Microscopes and telescopes were invented between 1600 and 1700.

e) In 1800, 's In India, England established a glass market. The market was created for the most affluent Nobel families. They went with Chandeliers into these families. Chandeliers of this size were hung from the ceiling. 

                                                        The Chandeliars in India.

f)Micromosaic: Micromosaic is a completely different type of glassmaking. Our docent directed us to a Micromosaic portrait made of about 2000 pounds of Glass. It was created in the early 1900s and has approximately 25000 different colours. During the process of Glassmaking, the glass sheet was broken into small pieces (i.e 1500 pieces of glasses per square inch)

g)Mosaic Studio Painting: The Vatican Museum Studio is now the conservatory for Vatican City for all the repair work for all the building artwork. Everything that comes out of Mosaic studio is meant to look like a painting. It's their operating procedure. 

They use micro scissors to position the micromosaics. They usually make a lot of portraits with the sky, and the rest is added based on what the customers want. 
h)The Glass Center began on the East Coast of America and gradually spread to Pittsburg. The glass industry in America flourished, giving birth to Corning Incorporated and bringing about the transformation from Farm Town to Crystal City.

i) Tiffany: This magnificent Glass piece was initially in New York before being donated to the Corning Museum of Glass in 1999. This all-around cut glass is created so that there are brushstrokes on the face where light enters. Tiffany incorporated these into the design. 

2. Glass in Optical Fibres

When we think of Glass, we think of window panes, drinking glasses, etc. Optical fibers operate based on the physics of internal reflection. The red light beam exits the first material and bounces back into both times because we have two transparent materials that form a reflective barrier that pushes light back into the first one. There is also a sample of Copper Wire, as Copper Wire handles approximately 500,000 phone calls.
                                                                      Glass Wires.

On the other hand, optical fibers are tiny piece of glass that is slightly thicker than human hair and sends signals in the form of a laser light codec. This single optical fiber can carry approximately 9 billion phone calls. For the copper wire to stay with it, we need 10,000 times the amount of copper wire on the wall. So you can see how amazing it is to communicate with light.

Seed Beads of Czechoslovakia

It took 4.5 million Czechoslovakian glass beads and over a year and a half of threading by women to create a mile-long seed bead with a beginning and an end. 

The notable mentions of the other galleries at Corning Museum of Glass are Contemporary Glass Gallery, Innovation Gallery, etc.

The Modern usage of Glass(21st Century Exhibits)

The Gift Center is another great place to be at. I almost always get some creative stuff for home from here!


  1. The Glasswork is just amazing. Didnt expect such a beautiful piece of artwork. Bow down to all the amazing artists and thnx Ankita for this wonderful blog.

  2. Nice post, Thank you for sharing.

  3. Nice post. Thanks for sharing this post.


Please introduce yourself here.